By Briana Alzola

Island Hospital is looking at a potential expansion and reorganization of its departments, allowing more space for needed services and making sure no space is wasted, CEO Charles Hall told the board of commissioners at its meeting Sept. 9.

The hospital will soon be leasing the building now occupied by NAPA Auto Parts, hospital COO Elise Cutter said. The store is moving, and the property owners approached the hospital about taking it over, Cutter said.

NAPA owner Rob Coogle said the Anacortes location is merging with Piston Service (located at 1020 12th St.), which will take on the NAPA name. All current employees of both will be retained to work at the 12th Street location, Coogle said.

NAPA’s current property at 2403 Commercial Ave. is across the street from the hospital and includes both the store building and a large metal building behind it, Cutter said. Once vacated, the property will be converted to a more workable hospital space.

The area will include a large conference room, eventually available for community groups meetings or as a classroom for community education.

The hospital will take over the lease on Oct. 1 for a 20-year period, she said.

The plan fits with the hospital’s master plan to improve areas throughout the hospital’s existing buildings, Cutter said.

Rearranging buildings and making improvements is a far better decision financially than building new structures, Hall said. 

The improvements on the existing space will cost roughly $2 million, while a new building would run closer to $10 million, Cutter said.

The master plan has four major objectives: creating a four-room outpatient procedural center suite to help relieve congestion in current operating rooms; creating multi-use clinic space that can be shared by specialty services as need grows; developing a sports and spine clinic with exam and procedural rooms; and expanding the endoscopy room into a full surgical operating room.

The timeline for these plans is being worked out, Hall said.

The outpatient procedural area is planned for a space now holding medical records and the resource center. Those departments could move across the street, Cutter said.

That procedure room would include areas for pre- and post-operation care, Cutter said. It would primarily be used for endoscopy, eye work and other outpatient procedures.

Moving those out of the general surgical area will give them the space they need without affecting more in-depth, inpatient surgeries, she said.

It will also add some much-needed storage for surgical supplies, Cutter said.

Plans include expansion and improvements of existing surgical spaces and a dedicated C-Section room. The plans also make space for a future surgical robot, Cutter said.

The multi-use specialty clinic is planned for the hospital’s medical arts pavilion. 

The space is perfect for services that are an asset to the community but may not need a full-time space. Some specialists come to see patients in Anacortes once a week or a couple times a month, Hall said. 

A flexible space would allow different providers to operate out of one area.

Future possibilities include oncology, cardiology, wound care, urology, gastrointestinal services and blood draw, Cutter said.

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