It was a historic day for medical services in Lincoln City and surrounding areas as the North Lincoln Hospital District Board decided to sell the current hospital (built 47 years ago) and all the lands it sits on to Samaritan Health, which has been the hospital’s operator for quite some time. In exchange, Samaritan Health agrees to build the region a new hospital – one that is more efficient, more versatile and more inviting for patients, doctors and staff.
Dr. Lesley Ogden, the recently appointed Chief Executive Officer at North Lincoln Hospital told News Lincoln County that the size, function and layout of the new hospital will be very forward-looking. She said medicine is migrating toward a more “outpatient” approach to hospital operations, wherever possible, reflecting major breakthroughs in extremely sophisticated surgery, updated and improved medicines with a major emphasis on disease and disability prevention.
Dr. Ogden said a more innovative hospital is in the offing so as medical procedures change, technology improves and as the variety of specialized medical services expand, the hospital can adapt well to changing work flows.
But the new hospital, right out of the gate, will also have to remain focused on traditional medical categories; General Surgery, Orthopedics, Neurology and Primary Care with also an emphasis on staying well – staying out of the hospital.
Dr. Ogden said there will be specific areas dedicated to medical imaging like MRI and CT scanners, all centrally located so patients no longer will have to move quite so much about the campus. There will also be expanded cancer services with additional doctors devoted to that area of medicine. She said they’re already filling a need for specialty cancer diagnosis and treatment that normally wouldn’t be available in such a rural area. But one of their oncologists sees patients in both Lincoln City and Newport allowing the doctor to live on the coast – no longer having to commute from the valley. It’s also the case with an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. Doctor Ogden said attracting and retaining more medical specialty physicians should be easier by better coordinating operations between the new Lincoln City and Newport hospitals.
Dr. Ogden says the new North Lincoln Hospital will be more pro-actively reaching out to the community to ascertain and prioritize various medical needs – especially those among retiring baby boomers who are increasingly moving to the coast. She predicts the next year will be devoted to analyzing ‘all of the above’ and crafting an efficient and flexible medical environment to attract more patients, more doctors – including more specialists. The goal is to create a more diverse medical center that is better able to meet the needs of coastal residents so they don’t have to drive to the valley.
Dr. Ogden predicted it will take something more than a year to do all the community outreach, planning and design before any construction can begin. In short, it’s likely to take two to three years before the new North Lincoln Hospital will be ready to accept patients. Meanwhile the old hospital will remain open until the new one is built.