Bellevue Medical Center
Opens Doors to Community
It was a much anticipated day when Bellevue Medical Center opened its doors this spring to the Bellevue community. As the city’s first full-service hospital, Bellevue Medical Center has a lot to offer this growing community of more than 50,000 residents and the surrounding counties.
Bellevue Medical Center is a community hospital committed to healing and preventive healthcare services that support the long-term health and well- being of the residents of Bellevue and the surrounding area. The medical center includes 24-hour emergency care; maternity services; inpatient and outpatient surgery; intensive care; cardiology services including cardiac catheterization; cancer services; a pharmacy; radiology; diagnostic and lab testing; as well as 55 private inpatient suites and 47 outpatient rooms. The hospital will have a total of 91 inpatient suites when the second floor of inpatient rooms is completed in early 2011.
“We are very excited to serve the Bellevue community by providing a comprehensive choice of quality and accessible healthcare services right here in Bellevue,” says Martin Carmody, FACHE, CEO of Bellevue Medical Center. “There is not a community in the Midwest with as large a population that doesn’t have its own hospital. We are here to fill that void and provide a positive patient experience.”
Adjacent to the hospital is the 60,000 square foot Bellevue Medical Office Building that houses family medicine and specialty physicians. The medical office building further enhances patient care and convenience by providing clinics and state-of-the-art diagnostic services to assist physicians in providing prompt diagnosis and treatment.
A Bellevue resident of 25 years, Richard Osterholm, MD, internal medicine specialist and chairman of the board of directors for Bellevue Medical Center, says there has been a great sense of pride and excitement among the Bellevue community in finally getting a hospital of its own. “Up until now, if a family had an emergency after their doctor's office had closed, they had nowhere close by to go. This hospital has been a long time coming.”
As one of the fastest growing communities in Nebraska, it could not have come at a better time.
Bellevue Medical Center is owned by The Nebraska Medical Center, academic physicians from UNMC Physicians and private doctors from Omaha, Bellevue and surrounding communities. Planning for the new facility has been in the works for more than five years, and it has been “a collaborative project between community members, physicians, nurses and administrative staff at The Nebraska Medical Center,” says Carmody.
This cooperative model was inspired by the vision of Bellevue practitioner Roy Holeyfield, Sr., who had originally approached The Nebraska Medical Center about partnering with physicians in a similar project. Plans for the new community hospital further evolved with the closure of Ehrling Bergquist Hospital at Offutt Air Force Base, which is one of the United States Air Force’s family physician training facilities.
From the earliest stages, physicians have played a significant role in shaping the culture and delivery of patient care. “This has been very much a physician-directed hospital,” says Dr. Osterholm. “We are applying real-world experience from the doctors who are providing the day-to-day care of their patients to help guide us in determining things like technology, work flow, nursing care and all the things we need to deliver the best patient care possible.”
Nurses, too, played an integral role in hospital planning, working side-by-side with doctors on the design, technology and patient care models. “By having the people closest to the process create the processes, we have set up the most efficient design and workflow possible,” says Robin Carlson, RN, BS, CCM, director of nursing at Bellevue Medical Center. “Additionally, because doctors and nurses have worked together on this project from the ground up, there’s a greater sense of pride and ownership in the hospital and more collegiality among staff.”
“When the decision was made to build a community hospital, it was also seen as an opportunity to develop a unique facility planned completely around the patient,” says Cindy Arbaugh, chief operating officer. “The design team did a wonderful job throughout the facility, creating an environment that will surely enhance the patient experience.”
“In the past, hospitals were built to be sterile environments with four walls,” says Carlson. “Not a lot of thought was given to the patient experience. Now we recognize that we are not only treating the body but also the mind and the spirit. And we know that the environment in which that occurs contributes to the healing process.”
“I see this hospital as an opportunity to build a better future for our patients and a better environment for staff to provide care to their patients,” says Jacqueline Parmenter, RN, MSN, chief nursing officer at Bellevue Medical Center. “Our leadership is committed to fostering an environment that is caring, respectful, encourages nursing input and one that rewards personal and professional accountability. I have no doubt that we are going to be successful.”
Energy efficiency and environmental friendliness have been important themes in the building as well, making it one of the most energy efficient hospitals in the Midwest. “As part of our responsibility to the community, we wanted to have a minimal footprint on the environment,” says Dr. Osterholm. This eco-conscious theme has been carried out throughout the entire facility, from the design to the use of natural resources to create a soothing environment that not only enhances healing but also promotes a general sense of health and well-being. The building's most striking visual features are its Ipê wood accents and zinc cladding, which are designed to be maintenance-free for decades. The hospital also capitalizes on the use of natural lighting by incorporating large windows in rooms, lobbies and halls throughout the building and includes a healing garden that features native plants and grasses, fountains and fire pits.
The hospital building has been designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. This is the recognized standard for achieving specific design and construction practices that meet some of the highest performance standards possible for energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly practices.
Created by United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED rating system requires buildings to meet standards for energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and the use of eco-friendly resources. Certification is awarded based on a point-based rating scale. “The team’s approach to building this hospital was to be good stewards of our environment,” says Carmody. “HDR and Kiewit Building Group teamed up to deliver a facility that will perform 20 percent more energy efficiently than conventional hospitals. That translates to a savings of about $200,000 per year in energy costs.”
Safety and quality were two areas that were high on the priority list during the planning process. “We have worked hard to create an efficient and professionally supportive environment that gives staff the tools and resources they need to provide the safest and highest quality of patient care possible,” says Carlson.
For example, bathrooms are designed with special lighting and surfaces that minimize the risk of falls and should a fall occur, surfaces are designed to minimize injury. Stryker smart beds utilize technology that alerts nurses when high-risk fall patients attempt to get out of bed on their own. Medication errors are nearly completely eliminated with the use of the Hospira Smart infusion pumps. This new technology allows the pharmacy and nurses to create drug libraries for each clinical area that defines medications routinely used and sets limits for dose and rate of infusion. Safety alerts can be sent electronically to each pump from the server. When it is time to administer a medication, information such as patient name, drug, dosage and the name of the nurse is verified in bar code administration technology before the medication can be administered.
To improve nurse workflow, the Omnicell medication delivery system allows nurses to remotely request medications, which are then dropped into the patient’s secure box. In addition, doctors and nurses use an electronic documentation system that reduces documentation time and provides real-time patient status information. Other efficiencies in patient care delivery include point-of-care nursing workstations and mobile computer workstations that allow nurses to spend more time near the bedside rather than at centralized nursing stations.
“Our goal was to eliminate falls, medical errors and any form of accident or injury during hospitalization,” says Dr. Osterholm. “We think we have achieved one of the safest environments in healthcare today. We’ve definitely raised the bar on the standard of high quality healthcare.”
As a part owner, The Nebraska Medical Center has been a crucial partner in providing resources to build the new hospital. “While we are a separate organization, we are proud to be a part of The Nebraska Medical Center family,” says Carmody. “The Nebraska Medical Center has always been recognized for its outstanding quality. In cases in which patients require a higher level of care, we have a great resource for referrals and access to some of the best experts in their respective specialties.”
As the largest and most respected medical center in the state, The Nebraska Medical Center has an international reputation for research, innovative procedures and as a respected leader in solid organ transplantation, cardiology, radiation oncology, bone marrow transplantation, neurology, burn care and oncology. Bellevue patients will have the opportunity to benefit from the medical center’s participation in clinical trials and research, which gives patients access to the safest, most up-to-date and sometimes revolutionary treatments.
Bellevue Medical Center also is partnering with the University of Nebraska Medical Center's (UNMC) Family Medicine Residency Program, which offers a three-year program to provide training for both civilian and active duty Air Force physicians. The closure of Ehrling Bergquist Hospital offered Bellevue Medical Center the opportunity to satisfy a community need and to continue the longstanding training relationship that existed between the University and the Air Force, says Michael Sitorius, MD, professor and chairman of the UNMC Department of Family Medicine. Through this partnership, the hospital has become a key training site for future family physicians. Approximately 20 percent of new family physicians trained by the Air Force will now receive part of their residency education at Bellevue Medical Center.
“Bellevue Medical Center has so much to offer the people of Bellevue,” says Dr. Osterholm. “It’s a hospital that was built for the people of Bellevue and its primary focus will always be to provide for their health and well-being. I think it will become a source of pride for the Bellevue community, and for many, it already is.”