Planned three-bed hospital to expand to more than 100 beds

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- The Black River Medical Center will start with three beds, but plans are being made to quickly expand to 100 or 150 beds.

"We want to open the three-bed hospital by Dec. 31," said Mike Burcham, president and chief executive officer of Poplar Bluff Medical Partners, during a wall breaking ceremony in the area where contractors are making renovations. One of the three acute care rooms will be designed to use as an isolation room when necessary.

BRMC, a taxable, not-for-profit corporation, is leasing 4,650 square feet in the south end of the Medical Partners facility known as The Coppertop.

"We also will have a three-bed emergency room, a radiology room and two 24-hour observation rooms," Burcham said.

Urgent care rooms will replace the current business office and part of the surgery center.

Burcham said urgent care will have seven rooms next to the emergency room area.

"We will open an outpatient ambulatory infusion center where urgent care is now," Burcham said.

Ambulances will take patients to the entrance that is closest to the south end of the building. This entrance also will be used by people going to urgent care and the emergency room.

Alberici Construction Co. of St. Louis, is the general contractor, and Charles Hampton Construction of Poplar Bluff, is the subcontractor.

"The renovation work is expected to be completed by Nov. 1," Burcham said. "We will need the remaining two months to get a Medicare certificate and the hospital licensure."

Burcham is working with the physicians involved in Medical Partners, personnel at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau and consultants on developing policies and procedures for the new hospital. He also is talking with prospective community members who may be interested in serving on the hospital board.

Future plans include the construction of a 245,000-square foot, four-story hospital on the south end of the Medical Partners facility.

"Our goal is to have the new hospital completed, licensed and operational within three years of completing the three-bed facility," Burcham said.

The first floor will have 125,000 square feet and three patient floors will each have 33,000 square feet with 50 private rooms on each floor.

"There will at least be 100 beds with space to expand up to 150," Burcham said. The current plans are to build four floors, but possibly not occupy one of the patient floors.

Saint Francis and Medical Partners formed a joint venture to create the new hospital in Poplar Bluff.

"Poplar Bluff residents travel to Cape Girardeau to receive treatment at Saint Francis. Now they will be able to receive more services closer to home," said Steven Bjelich, president and chief executive officer of Saint Francis Medical Center.

Medical Partners, with the help of Saint Francis, completed the first phase of its building program in 2004. The one-story structure has the surgery center, an imaging center and urgent care area. A four-story building with physician offices was completed in 2009 and connected to the first phase.

Burcham thanked the chamber members, physicians and community leaders for attending the wall breaking ceremony and for their support of a new hospital.

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, and state Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, who were involved in helping Medical Partners get a certificate of need on May 9 from the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee in Jefferson City, Mo., talked briefly.

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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