County Commissioners approve $75,000 for consultants to help light the way for a new county health facility
Lincoln County Commissioners have voted to spend $75,000 to get what they call “The Big Picture” on Lincoln County Health Services over the next 10 to 30 years. Looking ahead the county will have to consolidate their service locations for outreach services like vaccinations, medical exams, womens’ reproductive health, drug and alcohol addiction treatment, mental health treatment and veterans health services, to name just a few. They signed a contract with Soyring Consultants of Tampa Bay, Florida – Soyring proported to be a deeply experienced group of medical industry analysts who understand which directions medical care is headed over the next quarter century – and how that will affect the kind of new county health services building the county should eventually build.
Deputy County Counsel Jerry Herbage said the county has done it’s homework in researching and soliciting bids for the “look-ahead” work. Six national firms competed for the contract – but Soyring came out not only on top, but way up top, due to their decades of researching the medical industry and advising medical providers at city, county and regional levels – both public and private sectors.
Herbage admitted that with the political turmoil going on in Washington DC over health care, amidst a whirlwind of other issues, trying to accurately forecast funding scenarios for the new county health center is anybody’s guess. But he cautioned that whatever federal and state resources do materialize, it’s always smart to know about probable medical treatment trends and other developments in medical technology that could unfold over the next thirty years – and likewise – what facility configurations will best accommodate them. Sort of like paring down the list of unknown unknowns.
The commissioners seemed okay with this broadbrush, yet focused perspective, and they voted unanimously to approve the contract with Soyring.
As a side note, new private hospitals are still being built – two of them in Lincoln County – a number of others statewide. The design trend appears to be turning hospitals and medical treatment centers into something akin to “Swiss Army Knives” – facilities with leading edge technologies for diagnostics, surgery, and health maintenance. Couple that with highly sophisticated medical equipment getting smaller and more portable, hospital layouts and work flow patterns are becoming more convenient for patients and hospital staff. So that may take a great deal of guess work out of future building designs. The trick will be to pair all that up with medical advancements with intrusive procedures, advanced drugs and innovative post operative care. Some will apply to the county health center – some will not.
Again, the consultants will do a detailed assessment of the medical needs of Lincoln County – aimed at those services routinely provided by county health agencies as mentioned above. The trick will be how to fund the consolidation of the county’s widely scattered facilities and where to put the new county health center. One location that came up early and often is where the current county planning department is located south of the courthouse, bordering SW 2nd. County planning would possibly move in to the current county health services offices south of Olive, between Lee and Nye.
Again, none of this is happening tomorrow, next year or the year after that. But it’s coming. And county commissioners wanted to be ready when the funding is found to hire a contractor to begin building the new Lincoln County Heath Services Center.