by Derrick Vander Waal SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Patients have noticed a much improved front reception area when walking into Promise Community Health Center. The Promise staff isn’t cramped anymore.
Clinical assistant/interpreter Ruth Hernandez and registered nurse Kary Ney lead a Spanish Childbirth Education Class in Promise Community Health Center’s new community education and conference room in its expansion area on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
The health center recently completed a major renovation and expansion project in its downtown Sioux Center facility.
Promise CHC, located at 338 1st Ave. NW, invites the public to view the revamped facilities 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. The Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Tours and refreshments will follow during an open house reception in conjunction with a chamber Business After Hours event.
“The capital improvement project was designed to enhance the patient-centered medical home goals of Promise,” said Nancy Dykstra, executive director for Promise.
The most noticeable part of the project for patients is the remodel of the front reception area, which was completed about a month ago.
As patients come into the front door, four check-in stations are situated at standing height to the right. Patients can walk right up to a receptionist who is sitting at eye level to them.
Two lower stations are located to the left for Promise’s outreach staff. People can sit down in chairs to have conversations with community care coordinators about various needs – ranging from assistance in enrolling in health insurance programs and various government programs to referrals to other community resources that can help them.
“When they enter the building, they find more room in our reception area, and they find a more welcoming, patient-friendly environment,” Dykstra said.
Receptionists Liz Vargas and Emma Westerholm work in the remodeled front reception area at Promise Community Health Center.
Also as part of the remodeling project, a two-unit work pod for the medical providers in the clinic area was remodeled with a more open feel. The former break room also was converted into two back-to-back work pods for clinical staff. Promise medical providers, nurses and behavioral health personnel work out of those areas.
The expansion portion of the project was completed in June.
A new prenatal wing that includes two back-to-back work pods for the two certified nurse midwives, a nurse, and a clinical assistant and interpreter, and two exam rooms;
Four offices for the executive director, chief financial officer, quality and compliance director, and executive assistant and public relations and development director;
A behavioral health therapy room;
A larger break room for employees.
Because of the expansion, space also was opened up for the dental director and medical director to share an office and the clinic manager to have her own office.
In the past, most of the employees worked in tight spaces with multiple people sharing offices throughout the health center. Dykstra thinks the more adequate space will indirectly benefit the patients of the health center.
Certified nurse midwife Belinda Lassen works in one of the pods in the new prenatal wing at Promise CHC.
“When you help your staff serve in a better environment, the patients also are served better,” Dykstra said. “If our staff are working more effectively, then our patients can be served more effectively.”
She noted that the community education and conference room is a particularly big component of the project. It facilitates board meetings, staff meetings and training sessions, and community health education classes. In the past, Promise arranged for such meetings at Sioux Center Public Library, churches or other places in the community. Promise now can offer classes and meetings on site, allowing it to greatly increase its community education outreach.
“Anytime we can do a better job of education for the people we’re serving about how they need to care for themselves, then we’re doing better care. We haven’t been able to have much patient education as part of our health-care services before, so that’s really a big part of this,” she said, noting as an example that prenatal classes in Spanish and English can be offered for the first time. “That’s so exciting to finally get that off the ground.”
The expansion and renovation project was made possible through a $250,000 federal capital improvement grant that was awarded to the health center in August 2014 by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.