The Olmsted Medical Center in Spring Valley is now treating patients in a new, larger building.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The Olmsted Medical Center in Spring Valley is now treating patients in a new, larger building. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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The move for Olmsted Medical Center is only a couple blocks in distance, but patients are already finding a whole new experience in the building that now houses OMC in Spring Valley.

Construction of an entirely new facility at 802 Memorial Drive began in July. Staff and equipment were moved up the street from the West Tracy Road clinic, which had become too small, in early January with the official opening on Monday, Jan. 13. An open house is set for next Monday.

Plans to relocate OMC's Spring Valley clinic have been in the works for several years, but not until the past couple of years did OMC pursue the partnership with Spring Valley Senior Living (SVSL) that has resulted in the new clinic, explained Olmsted Medical Center's marketing representative Jeremy Salucka. Spring Valley Senior Living owns the actual clinic facility; OMC rents the space and operates the clinic.

With 14 patient rooms total - 12 exam rooms and two procedure rooms - the new facility has room for more patients, more services, more patient confidentiality and more parking.

"The new OMC Spring Valley clinic is significantly larger than our old location on West Tracy Road, with more natural light, wider hallways, and larger and more comfortable waiting areas.," said Salucka. "The new clinic has 12 larger exam rooms, two procedure rooms, an x-ray room with new radiology equipment, a laboratory, a speech therapy room, and an on-site pharmacy operated by Weber & Judd. The new clinic will be much more accommodating of patients and visitors with physical disabilities or assistive medical devices like mobility scooters, and there will be additional free parking immediately in front of the new clinic's main entrance, and supplemental parking in SVSL lots nearby."

Salucka said the decision to move the clinic to SVSL's campus involved four components: It will make it easier for SVSL residents to receive care by removing access and transportation barriers. Second, on-site OMC staff will be able to immediately respond to medical emergencies among SVSL residents and, when necessary, more quickly stabilize the patient for transportation to Rochester. Third, Weber and Judd's on-site pharmacy will further increase convenience by allowing patients and visitors to fill prescriptions on-site or before they depart. Fourth, faster real-time, on-site communication between SVSL and OMC caregivers will improve the continuity of care for SVSL residents.

New services include tele-health consultations, whereby Spring Valley clinic patients can interact in real-time with OMC healthcare providers in Rochester or other branch clinics via a secure audio and visual link using a flat screen television monitor. Spring Valley now also offers cardiac health outreach, including echocardiograms and the on-site services of an OMC cardiologist one day per week. The new clinic also offers worker's compensation injury evaluations and treatment, along with MnDOT medical exams and other occupational medicine services.

One concern about the West Tracy Road building was the tight quarters led to a lack of privacy in some cases. Salucka addressed the matter, saying the new clinic was specifically designed to better safeguard patient privacy - so better soundproofing and information security features are part of the facility's construction.

The West Tracy Road clinic building was closed from Jan. 8 through Jan. 10 so that staff and equipment could relocate, and medical providers were available at the Preston and Stewartville OMC branches during the move, allowing patients to continue receiving care even though the staff was busy setting up examination rooms and computers at the new site.

"OMC's Spring Valley caregivers are ecstatic about the move. They're thrilled at the prospects this new facility has for offering improved patient care and comfort, as well as the upgraded work environment our caregivers deserve," said Salucka. "Coming 'home' to the new clinic facility was incredibly inspiring and motivating for our Spring Valley caregivers. As formidable as the moving process was, the change and the new environment have increased our employees' energy and optimism, which is directly reflected in their interactions with patients and visitors."

There were challenges involved, which Salucka pointed out were handled with grace. He explained that relocating is always difficult, and employees most especially disliked any inconvenience the move caused their patients. However, knowing the new clinic would present a much more comfortable, accommodating, and private experience to Spring Valley patients was excellent motivation to move as quickly as possible. OMC's Spring Valley staff and others assisting in the relocation "did an exceptional job of safely and securely transporting clinic equipment and patient information in the three-day window," he noted, opening back up for business at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 13.

Spring Valley's OMC clinic staff includes Steven Harder, D.O., Raymond Krueger, D.O., Charles Slater, M.D., Roxie Tienter, CNP, Nurse Supervisor Pat Bisbee, RN, Tony Archer, R.N., L.P.N.s Shirley Graser and Evelyn LuAnn Jones, medical transcriptionist Kathy Grell, radiology coordinator Lawrence Hindt, laboratory technicians Katie Junge and Georgie Nolte, patient service representative Sheryal Rubin, and patient service representative and notary public Judy Cooper.

"As always, OMC will explore adding more providers if patient demand increases. OMC remains committed to maintaining a physical clinic presence in Spring Valley and believes in the region's economic future," said Salucka. "From time to time, we hear that patients and residents wonder if our branch clinics will be shut down or relocated to other cities and towns - nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, OMC recently added a new branch clinic to its regional facilities in Cannon Falls, bringing the total number of OMC branch clinics to 10. Most of those are the sole medical services provider in their respective towns, and we understand the importance of maintaining that service."

To underscore that importance, an official grand opening and joint open house with SVSL is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. OMC and SVSL staff will be on hand to talk with visitors and help them tour the shared facility. There will be door prizes and refreshments. OMC will have print and display material available that describes the Spring Valley clinic's services, along with services available in Rochester. Most of the clinic staff will also be on hand to talk with visitors about clinic services and answer any questions.

Salucka is pleased to also announce that the walls of the new facility will have gems from local artists. OMC is featuring locally produced artwork in its waiting rooms, hallways, and exam rooms. At the grand opening and open house, between 5:30 and 6 p.m., Spring Valley clinic staff will unveil three locally-produced pieces of artwork that will decorate the new clinic's waiting room - two pieces entitled "Kansas Countryside" and "Old Barn County 1" by artist Eleanor Augustus, who died on Jan. 28, 2013, and whose work was donated by her daughter, Carol Shaw and husband Orlan, and one unnamed piece by artist Nordeen Groth, painted in the fall of 2012.

Salucka and the staff invited the community to stop in at the grand opening and tour the new clinic.

"First of all, it's an opportunity to celebrate," he said. "The pace of our professional and personal lives sometimes does not permit that, which is why it was incredibly important to us to set a time for Spring Valley clinic, SVSL, and Spring Valley residents to come together and celebrate the new facility and partnership. Second, it's a chance for OMC patients to see and interact with our Spring Valley caregivers in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, and that's important to us as well - the better we know our patients, the better we can care for them!"