Medical Marvel

PRMC spends $5.1 million and spreads its wings

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At a projected budget of $5.1 million, Payson Regional Medical Center is getting an overhaul two new wings, some remodeling and the relocation of the facility's administrative offices.

The project which began in January 2001 and will be complete by the spring of 2002 will involve the addition of a new medical surgery wing and an obstetric wing, a complete remodeling of the hospital's kitchen, turning old patient-care areas into offices and creating a new lobby and entrance.

That entrance will face the planned Main Street extension a separate project that will bring Main Street east of the Beeline Highway and directly to the hospital's front door.

Richard Miller of Earl Swenson Associates is the project's main architect, and construction will be handled by Kitchell Contractors, the same company that built the hospital's last add-on in 1996.

The latest hospital expansion plan has been in the works since Community Health Systems acquired the hospital in 1997, Payson Regional Medical Center CEO Russell Judd said. The work to turn that plan into reality began in the spring of 1999. PRMC began as Payson Hospital, the town's first health clinic, in 1954. It later evolved into the Lewis R. Pyle Memorial Hospital, which is now the hospital's B wing, and was remodeled for the first time in 1995.

According to Dr. Charles Calkins, chief of the PRMC medical staff, the time is exactly right to expand Payson's premier medical complex.

"Since 1996, admissions have gone up 30 percent ... surgeries have gone up 80 percent ... emergency room visits have gone from 4,400 to over 11,000 ... the outpatient visits and procedures have gone from 6,400 to 33,000 ... and since 1996, 30 new, full-time heath care givers have come to Payson and surrounding areas," Calkins said.

"With the completion of the new wing," said Ray Leavens, president of the Mogollon Health Alliance, "PRMC will become, without a doubt, a state-of-the-art hospital, serving all of the Rim communities. That's something we should be very proud to have."

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