On the morning of August 7, 2017, the then-new Medical Offices at Ivinson officially opened their doors and began seeing patients. That day, members of the community and employees alike shuffled through the medical office building (MOB) for the first time. Those that happened to be in the building on day one, no doubt, noticed the tall ceilings, grand fireplace and the unmistakable aroma of new carpet and fresh paint.
The entirely new building set out to make patients the top priority by simplifying the process of seeing providers, giving patients access to day-of test results and allowing guests to be able to avoid Laramie’s severe winter weather conditions. The addition of a covered walkway and parking garage, the first in Laramie, gave patients the option to skip the cold and take an elevator directly to the MOB or to hospital admitting.
Moreover, the new medical offices offered patients something even more valuable than that — unity. The building, which is just over 27,000 square feet, made it possible for all of Ivinson Medical Group (IMG) to move their clinics onto the hospital’s main campus. Now, patients are able to see their primary care provider and get imaging and lab work done, all in one visit.
To everyone who played a part in the construction and planning of the MOB, that warm morning in August was much more than cutting a ribbon and turning on the lights. For many, that morning was the realization of years of hard work, planning and long hours, all in the name of offering better care for patients.
Because of this work, the new facility was able to open on time and begin seeing patients immediately. No one, however, could have predicted what would happen next.
period of growth
Over the next year, the MOB would take on a life of its own. Within the first few months, several new outpatient providers and service lines joined the Ivinson Medical Group team. By December, Ivinson was now home to a new geriatrician, a dermatology provider and an otolaryngologist, all services which were not previously available through IMH.
“I don’t even know how we would have anticipated or guessed that we would’ve grown so quickly,” said Colleen Lang, practice manager for Ivinson Medical Group. “We didn’t anticipate the positive response to this building and the services we offer, and that it would lead to such a drastic increase in patient visits and requests for specialty care.”
The amount of growth generated by the opening of the MOB came as surprise to many. “We have seen growth every month, essentially, since we moved in,” Colleen adds.
And, as it turns out, this growth was not just limited to patient visits — the new facility has also piqued the interest of prospective providers looking for work in the region. “Having the medical offices has made recruitment so much easier,” says Holly Zajic, chief operations officer for IMH. Since the opening of the MOB, Holly adds, “we’ve been wildly successful with our recruitment efforts — we finally figured out the secret recipe for physician recruitment.”
And if you ask Holly what the ‘secret recipe’ for recruitment is, she will tell you, “It’s early conversations and being prepared… [It’s our] team of A-player physicians in place, along with our outstanding staff, that make people want to come here.”
By April 2018, plans to add an entirely new clinic, as well as a new pediatrician to the Pediatric and Family Care clinic, were well underway. That month, with the addition of two OB/GYN providers to our staff, the new Women’s Health Clinic at Ivinson was brought into the world (yet another first for Ivinson).
moving forward (and upward)
Ivinson Medical Group’s rapid expansion may have been a surprise to most. As Colleen notes, “it wasn’t in the 6-month plan.”
In the last year, IMG’s clinics and service lines have grown so much, available space in the medical offices is now spent and the facility is at capacity. Even so, IMG is looking to keep the momentum going as it works to bring additional, highly requested services and clinics to Laramie residents.
By the end of next year, Holly explains that the hospital plans to add an additional general surgeon, a new midwifery program (that is currently in the works) and, by October, the addition of a new urologist.
With plans to further expand Ivinson Medical Group’s services, the hospital now faces the unique dilemma of where to put everyone. Holly asserts that this is a good problem to have, and one the hospital planned for when designing the building.
As it stands now, the plan is to build up, not out, which means by the end of this year, construction will begin on the addition of a new floor, atop the MOB. Some have speculated that the new addition to the MOB will connect to the third floor of the hospital; however, Holly anticipates that this will not be the case. “It’s simply not possible with the planned layout for the renovated third floor.”
“The key with the third floor is that we can be ready for whatever kind of innovative healthcare options there are on the horizon,” clarifies Colleen.
While the medical office building may have started out as cold steel and concrete, the warmth of the building truly comes from the staff, patients and visitors it serves each day. What was once just a drawing on paper is now a place of healing and care for those who reside in our rural region. And with so much growth in just a single year, it is certainly an exciting time to work at Ivinson, and the beginning of an exceptional chapter in our hospital’s history.