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Angel CEO talks new facility design, updates for Fall opening

Our community has good reason to take great pride in receiving an extraordinary state-of-the-art hospital at a time when rural healthcare facilities face the risk of closing. This is due to unprecedented financial challenges that imperil their ability to provide advanced care and operate optimally, much less thrive and grow. 

I’m thrilled to report that over the next few months we will be finalizing everything to be able to open the new Angel Medical Center (AMC) in September. 

I want to provide our community with up-to-date, accurate information to help guide conversations about the new facility, dispel any misconceptions, and best of all, share why we should celebrate this new chapter in Franklin’s ability to grow economically, while ensuring that excellent care can be delivered close to home. 

This column will allow me to provide the answers to some of the top questions I have received over the months about our new facility, and I felt that a Q&A format would be appropriate.

Question: How big is the new facility compared to the current one?

Answer: The current facility is approximately 125,000 square feet in size. The new facility is about 88,500 square feet. Despite the difference in square footage, the level of care that we will be able to provide this community won’t be compromised in any way. Rather, it reflects the fact that we will be able to deliver care more efficiently. Contrary to the idea that “bigger is better,” size isn’t as critical as having a space that is smartly designed, making the best use of space. It allows our healthcare providers to move and work more easily and seamlessly, and our patients will be more comfortable, whether they are in a waiting area or receiving care.  

Question: How many beds and operating rooms does the new Angel Medical Center have compared to the current facility?

Answer: The new hospital will be equipped with 30 large patient care rooms and two operating suites. AMC currently has more bed spaces, but not usable rooms. As a critical access hospital, we can only have an average of 25 acute care beds occupied over the course of a year. 

The other five rooms are for overflow when needed, hospice inpatient patients, and what are known as swing beds (a setting where patients who are transitioning from acute care to a skilled nursing facility can stay). 

The two operating suites are twice the size of a traditional operating room, which will allow us to increase surgery services significantly. 

Question: When will the new facility be completed?

Answer: The unpredictable nature of new construction projects, and delays are the norm. The construction phase of the project should be completed by the end of July. 

If you have driven by the site lately, you may have noticed that the fencing is down, the road is being widened, there is landscaping going in, and the lights are on. 

The completion of the construction phase starts a new phase of getting approval from the NC Department of Health and Human Services. This consists of a series of surveys that ensure that we meet the code required for a medical facility, and that we have created plans and policies that will continue to allow us to provide safe care. 

As I noted before, our first day of serving patients is slated to be in September.

Question: I keep hearing the term “state-of-the-art” and talk of new equipment, but how will these things actually affect the care I will receive?

Answer: We will be getting all new equipment for the new facility, and this is important. Without the latest technology available to our community, the care we would provide would not be as advanced and sophisticated. 

Some of the exciting new facility features include, but are not limited to, screening technology for breast care, new MRI machines, the latest CT scan technology, and all new laboratory, endoscopic, and surgical equipment.

Question: Will you be decreasing the services?

Answer: No. With the technology noted above, we are actually bringing other services to the community that we have not previously had the technology or capacity to offer, another huge plus for our community members’ ability to get the care they need, close to home. 

Question: What is being placed directly beside the new hospital?

Answer: This is another piece of great news for the community. MAMA (Mountain Area Medical Airlift), Mission Health’s medical transport helicopter, has a home base in Asheville and here in Franklin, so a new helipad is being constructed directly next door to us. I am proud that we offer a landing site for MAMA, as well as quarters for the crew who take care of her.

I am sure that there are many more questions regarding the new AMC, and as they come up, I will ensure that we get answers out to the community. 

The unveiling of the new AMC is a rare and extraordinary opportunity, and I want community members to join me in celebrating the new facility, as well as participate in our upcoming tours and open house events. These will be scheduled for late August and I’ll have more details as the summer progresses. Everyone here is thrilled to invite the community in to see everything going on “behind the scenes” to make the facility superior from Day 1. We have much to be grateful for!

Clint Kendall, FACHE, MBA, MSN, BSN, RN, is Chief Executive Officer/Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. He started his career as a nurse, and that perspective still informs his work and passion for the patient experience. Clint holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Nursing, and Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Western Carolina University. Clint has also earned the Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS) certification, and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), and the American Nurses Association (ANA). 

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