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Tue, Oct. 22

Hospital installs final beam

This past week, hospital officials conducted a "Topping Off" celebration for the skeleton structure. The Bradshaw Mountain High School marching band provided a drum roll as a crane lifted the final beam, painted white and covered with signatures of area supporters, high into place.

The 50-bed hospital will have 24-hour emergency services, obstetrics, surgical capabilities and provide in-patient care as well as a complement to outpatient services at Del E. Webb, said YRMC CEO Tim Barnett. The latter services include: radiology/imaging, a full service lab, physical/occupational therapy and hospice care.

"We've been working on this a long, long time," said Barnett, who took charge at Prescott's YRMC in 1993. "The Prescott Town Council got with me within a week or so (to discuss growth concerns)."

A Blue Ribbon Council then studied a "regional bed need" analysis and followed steps to make projections for the hospital's future. The present hospital sits on only 13 acres and with its 127 beds has expanded nearly to capacity.

"The incredible wisdom we had," Barnett said with a laugh, "all played out well."

For Prescott Valley residents, having their own emergency room means shorter drives, but a more importantly, shorter waits to see a doctor, he said.

"We'll have fast track – our version of urgent care – and full emergency room capabilities," said Barnett.

The new hospital will also contain ground and air ambulance services to provide both "scene work" and transport to other hospitals.

Barnett said the planners are most proud of the fact the hospital has "never had a dollar of tax support."

"People see 'Yavapai' in the title and think the hospital is part of the county," Barnett said. "But it's a private, not-for-profit hospital. All dollars stay in the community and all revenue comes from treating patients and donations."

Barnett also said it is the hospital's mission to treat patients, regardless of ability to pay.

While much of the focus has been on building plans, hospital officials, with a consultant, have also given a lot of attention to programmatic and staffing positions, Barnett said. "Staffing is now one of our biggest challenges," he said. "In the last eight weeks, we have hired 49 nurses, with a turnover of two during that time, for a gain of 47.We are actively recruiting new physicians, as well."

Although the country has a nursing shortage, because of YRMC's reputation and location, Barnett said, they are able to attract nurses as well as doctors to the area. With the promise of the new hospital, some doctors have already re-located to Prescott Valley.

"We've got a lot going for us. We live in a great area and are a 'value-based' employer," Barnett said, adding that the hospital is the most recent recipient of the Arizona Nursing Association's award for best employer for nurses in the state. YRMC is also a finalist for Fortune magazine's 100 best companies to work for in the United States, he said.

"Out of thousands of companies, we're in the top 400," said Barnett. "We won't know until December if we made the top 100."

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