The newly renovated and expanded Emergency and Outpatient Services portion of Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma was introduced to the Durant community at a Tuesday grand opening.
State, city and hospital leaders helped cut the ribbon on the 18,000-square-foot complex, almost a year to the day after breaking ground on the $7.5 million expansion by Health Management Associates.
HMA President and CEO Gary Newsome said the gleaming “bricks and mortar” were not the true stars at MCSO: “It’s all about the care that’s given, and the people who walk these halls on a daily basis.”
Newsome said HMA chose to invest in the Durant hospital “under the cloud of uncertainty of health care reform” because “we believe it is the right thing to do.”
Dr. Jim Ford, Emergency Department Medical Director, also welcomed leaders at a ceremony inside the pristine new waiting and admission rooms adjacent to the ER. Ford mirrored Newsome’s sentiments to credit hospital staff, going so far as to name a few whose collective experience added up to nearly 100 years.
He named Emergency Department staffers Jeanne Pirtle (32 years), Darell Smith (32 years) and Dee Ann Ballew (25 years), while also tipping his cap to ER nurses who were present. “We’re so grateful for this new Emergency Department which will allow us to show this community how dedicated we are to taking care of their needs,” Ford said.
“Our hope and our vision is that this truly becomes the regional medical center for Southeast Oklahoma,” said Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson. “Team Durant stands ready and stands committed.”
City Manager James Dunegan shared some personal memories of the hospital, and praised HMA for making a “re-investment” in the medical center. “Every year or two we get called out here break ground or cut a ribbon on a new project,” he said. “You’ve invested in this community and this hospital, and I commend you for it.”
State Rep. Justin Roberts and State Sen. Josh Brecheen echoed these sentiments, pointing out the massive financial impact and commitment made by the hospital.
In just a few weeks, hospital officials plan to break ground on renovations for its Women’s Center as part of a step-by-step improvement and expansion plan.