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Published December 07, 2011, 11:30 PM

Perham Health center: Healthy beginning

News $38M medical facility opens in January
PERHAM, Minn. – The doors open for patients on Jan. 9 to a new $38 million community medical center that comes with new technology, better privacy and more space for families.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

PERHAM, Minn. – The doors open for patients on Jan. 9 to a new $38 million community medical center that comes with new technology, better privacy and more space for families.

The new Perham Health center, which has 120,000 square feet, is six blocks from the old hospital and clinic on Highway 10 in the southwest corner of town.

It replaces a more than 50-year-old building that is overcrowded and equipped with inadequate mechanical systems deemed too costly to upgrade.

“We’re just absolutely out of space,” Chuck Hofius, chief executive officer of Perham Health, said Tuesday of the old facility. “We’ve literally converted every storeroom, every bathroom we could take out of service for patient care.”

Technological improvements include a magnetic resonance imaging scanner, electronic medical records and a state-of-the-art nurse call system.

The center includes a 25-bed hospital with patient rooms equipped with a sofa that folds out to become a bed for visiting family members and a family kitchen.

Perham, 65 miles southeast of Moorhead, serves an area with a growing population, with many new residents ages 55 to 65, Hofius said. The community’s population of 12,000 year-round residents swells to 30,000 in the summer.

“Our ER in the summertime is literally crazy,” Hofius said, adding that the emergency room will double from four patient bays to eight. The hospital will have two operating rooms, compared to the current one.

Visitors and patients will immediately note the sunny atrium, which provides direct access to all departments at the medical center, said Kathy Hemmelgarn, Perham Health’s chairwoman.

“It’s very family friendly,” she said. “The hospital wing is much more private than the old one.”

Two parts of the old hospital have been leased. One area will provide space for the Boys and Girls Club, and another has been leased by the city for a business incubator.

The remaining space is planned for behavioral health and senior services to complement the adjacent assisted-living center and senior apartments.

All departments in the new medical center have room to accommodate service volume growth of 25 to 50 percent and are planned for possible expansion.

“We are fortunate,” Hofius said, “to be an area that’s growing.”

If you go

What: Open house for new Perham Health center, which opens for patients Jan. 9

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Perham Health on Highway 10


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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