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Serving: IA

Better health care for rural Iowa

Courtesy of Shenandoah Medical Center Shenandoah Medical Center
USDA LOANS HELP: A large expansion and renovation project at Shenandoah Medical Center in Page County was made possible through a $25 million loan from USDA Rural Development.
New surgery center in Shenandoah is example of how cooperation and innovation are making a difference.

Earlier this winter a new surgery center opened at the Shenandoah Medical Center that will improve health care opportunities for rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri. Located in the southwest Iowa town of Shenandoah, the center is part of a large expansion and renovation at the hospital, made possible through a $25 million loan from USDA Rural Development.

“The top priority and concern of the American people is quality health care,” says Greg Connell, executive director, Shenandoah Chamber and Industry Association, during the grand opening ceremony. “This expansion and improvement to the Shenandoah Medical Center makes quality health care the No. 1 priority in Shenandoah.”

In addition to the new surgery center, the multiphase project also included a new, two-story medical clinic, renovation and expansion of the existing hospital; a new single-entry point and registration area; an expanded emergency department; improvements to the laboratory; and a new ambulance garage. 

Planning, cooperation and commitment
“The surgery center wraps up the completion of nearly four years of planning, construction and work at our facility and is a great statement to our community and what we are trying to accomplish,” says Matthew Sells, president and chief executive officer, Shenandoah Medical Center. “I am very thankful for everybody on the team that has helped us handle the expansion of care as we conducted 2,000 procedures and surgeries this year, compared to around 900 seven years ago.”

The new 18,000-square-foot surgery center has two operating rooms, a room for minor procedures, an endoscopy suite, and six pre-and post-operating rooms.

“We are delighted to be a partner with you as you illustrate a commitment to quality health care in southwest Iowa,” says Annette Sweeney, USDA Rural Development state director in Iowa. “Helping modernize and build rural infrastructure such as this is an important emphasis at USDA Rural Development.”

Dr. Mike Woods, an obstetrician-gynecologist and urogynecologist, says the hospital’s ongoing commitment to building for the future was one of the reasons he was attracted to the area.

Providing best care possible
“The community and the patients are why we are here, and this new surgery center, along with all the facility improvements at the hospital, exemplifies our commitment to the future,” Woods says. “Whether you are visiting the clinic, or are a patient on the floor or in the surgery center, our goal is to provide you with the best care possible.”

MEDICAL OUTREACH: The new surgery center at Shenandoah will improve health care opportunities for rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri, notes Annette Sweeney, state director for USDA Rural Development in Iowa.

USDA Rural Development’s community facility direct loans can be used to fund essential community services. For health care, this includes constructing, expanding or improving health care facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics and assisted-living facilities, as well as to purchase equipment. Public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribes in rural areas and towns with up to 20,000 people are eligible for these loans.

USDA loans improve rural health care
Along with the Shenandoah Medical Center, an additional $81 million in USDA Rural Development community facility direct loans were awarded in 2017 to support health care projects in rural Iowa. These projects included:

• $13.3 million loan to St. Anthony Regional Hospital and Nursing Home to help construct a new assisted living facility in Carroll

• $3.3 million loan to Methodist Manor Retirement Community to help construct a replacement skilled care facility in Storm Lake

• $27.1 million loan to the city of Waverly to help fund an addition and renovation at the Waverly Health Center

• $13.9 million loan to Humboldt County Memorial Hospital to help fund a replacement medical clinic and hospital renovation in Humboldt

• $17.7 million loan to Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital to help construct a replacement hospital and medical clinic in Rock Rapids

• $3 million loan to Community Hospital Inc. to help make facility improvements at the hospital in Hamburg 

• $3 million loan to Friendship Home Association to help renovate the skilled care and memory care facility in Audubon

• $450,000 loan to Virginia Gay Hospital to help purchase and install an emergency generator for the hospital in Vinton

“Access to quality health care means connecting doctors to patients in need of their expertise of care,” Sweeney added. “My hat’s off to everyone who has gone the extra mile to make these important projects happen. They all share the common threads of partnerships and innovation to help improve the lives of rural Iowans.”

Leach is public information coordinator with USDA Rural Development in Iowa.




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