Even before the severed ribbon hit the floor at the new HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Medical Office Building, the first patients had already streamed through the door.
The first family health patients began arriving for family health services at 8 a.m. Monday, more than three hours before the facility’s ceremonial opening. The first occupational health and physical therapy patients were to arrive later that afternoon.
Construction started last spring on the 26,000-square-foot building that currently hosts approximately 10 physicians. That’s the same number of doctors that were in the old family and occupational health facilities in the hospital itself. But Chris Klay, director of rehabilitation services, said that number could increase.
“We designed this facility for growth, “ he said.
The building houses St. Joe’s family health, along with occupational health, physical therapy, and speech and language pathology. It also represents lots of equipment upgrades, but most of all, more room.
“We really needed the space. That was difficult to find in the hospital,” said Alyssa Van Duyse, marketing specialist with the hospital.
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But the new building also represents a new level of convenience for patients. Only outpatients are served there.
“If you’re an outpatient, you don’t need emergency services,” Van Duyse said. “Now they don’t need to go into the hospital. They can come here instead.”
Marci and Mark Myrman of Chippewa Falls showed up for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies. They have used the services now offered in the new building before, when they were still located in the hospital, and anticipate a great level of service at the new facility.
“I think it’s very functional as well as beautiful,” Marci Myrman said. “It’s just wonderful.”
Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman didn’t just speak as a representative of the city during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, but as a patient.
“I started out at the facility over here,” Hoffman said, motioning towards the hospital. “I’ve been going to family health here for 38 years. I’ve had the opportunity to use the physical therapy at St. Joe’s way too many times.”
Hoffman said that it would be nice to have all the occupational and physical therapy services on the same floor: the ground floor.
“I think it’s really neat,” he said, before lapsing back into his role as mayor. “It’s a great addition to the City of Chippewa Falls.”