Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Health

August 10, 2011

Event a milestone for health pavilion

GLASGOW — The groundbreaking of T.J. Health Pavilion and T.J. Health Partners Clinic was well-attended Tuesday afternoon at the Barren River Plaza on N.L. Rogers Wells Boulevard.

Despite the heat, the ceremony gathered administrators and doctors associated with T.J. Samson Community Hospital, state and national  legislators, local government officials and members of the community. Hospital CEO Bill Kindred led the ceremony, with speeches by hospital administrators, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, Sen. David Givens, State Rep. Johnny Bell, Mayor Rhonda Trautman and Judge-Executive Davie Greer.

“This is a very exciting time for our organization and our community as we advance the delivery of healthcare services in this region,” Kindred said during his opening remarks.

The concept for the T.J. Health Pavilion began about a year and a half ago, Kindred said, when T.J. Samson administration decided the community would need more outpatient services in the future. The demand for outpatient services is growing by 15 percent each year, due to advances in medical technology, an emphasis on disease prevention and the effort to control healthcare costs.

“We’re here to meet a need,” said Henry Royse, chairman of the T.J. Samson board of directors.

The health facility will include an ambulatory care center, a physicians’ clinic and a community center for health education and awareness. The three-part facility will be run as a partnership between T.J. Samson and T.J. Health Partners, which will manage the clinic.

Hospitals that try to manage physicians’ organizations are inefficient, said Tony Sudduth, chief operations officer and chief financial officer of T.J. Samson as well as CEO of T.J. Health Partners, which was why T.J. Samson formed its partnership company, T.J. Health Partners. The health partners will run the clinic, which already has 21 physicians with 10 more planned for the end of the year. The clinic will eventually house 60 physicians, Sudduth said.

The 100,000 square foot clinic building will be built in what is currently the parking lot of Barren River Plaza in front of the old Walmart. The health pavilion itself, which will be 117,000 square feet, will be housed in the old Walmart. Four adjacent retail spaces will be converted into the 10,000-square-foot community center.

While he is excited about the health aspect of opening the new pavilion, Kindred said he is equally excited that the pavilion is specifically opening in the Barren River Plaza, filling retail spaces that have been vacant for years. Opening the health pavilion in that location will remove a city eyesore and bring new energy to the Barren River Plaza.

“We believe this facility will positively impact the revitalization of the Barren River Plaza,” Kindred said.

State Rep. Brett Guthrie praised T.J. Samson and the community of Glasgow for taking community assets already in place and putting them to good use. The facility will be needed as the last round of baby boomers turn 65, he pointed out, and the healthcare center will benefit the entire community.

“You’re making it happen,” Guthrie said.

Sen. David Givens and State. Rep. Johnny Bell shared Guthrie’s congratulations and praise for the community. The T.J. Health Pavilion and clinic will be a “wonderful asset to this community” and a “wonderful accomplishment,” Bell said.

Funding for the $30 million construction project has been supplied through the issuing of bonds by the city of Glasgow. Kindred thanked Trautman and the city government for its support, and Trautman said she looks forward to a long partnership with T.J. Samson.

“The benefits (of T.J. Health Pavilion) directly and indirectly to our community are almost immeasurable,” Trautman said.

Greer told Kindred and the T.J. Samson administrators that they “need to be thankful every day that you’ve got the board that sees the future.”

“You’ve got to be the community that thinks ahead,” Greer said.

Greer, who had not been feeling well the previous day, succumbed to the heat while at the podium and the ceremony was temporarily put on hold. Several of the doctors present treated her, and she regained consciousness quickly, although she was taken from the scene by ambulance. Dr. Chuck Thornbury, a T.J. Samson doctor and family practitioner at Medical Associates Clinic, said Greer would be fine. As Greer was put into the ambulance by stretcher, she sat up and waved while the crowd applauded her exit.

Although Kindred dismissed the crowd when Greer initially got sick, he did gather the dignitaries and administrators for the symbolic shovel toss after Greer left, and the ceremony ended on a positive note.

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