New Medical Facility in Aurora Hopes to Improve Patient Care

By KBJR News 1

June 1, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:02 PM CDT

The center includes both the community's clinic and hospital, which used to be in two separate locations. Center administrators think the new facility will help improve healthcare for the surrounding area.

"If you used to come with a sprained ankle or an acute back pain I had to send you across town. So, you had to get in a car or an ambulance to send you over for some of the things you needed," said the facility's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michelle Oman, "So, I think it's a huge advantage for those patients."

The facility is the result of a $4.5 million construction project, funded in part by an infrastructure grant from the IRRRB. In addition to combinbing the clinic and hospital facilities onto one campus, the new building also hosts an array of new technology.

One television-like device allows practioners in Duluth to speak with and care for patients in Aurora, all while miles away.

"In the case of a patient hospitalized in Aurora, they might have problems which are complicated to the point where I'd say we have to send that patient down to Duluth or somewhere for specialty care but instead we can take care of the patient in Aurora and [don't] have to transfer them," said Essentia Health Hospitalist, Dr. Jeffrey Lyons.

The biggest benefit to the new facility seems to be its combining of the community's clinic and hospital. Having them in the same location turned what used to be a drive across town into just steps down a hall for those commuting between facilities.

"It will be less stressful," said Dr. Oman, "It'll be easier to do your job because everything is right there. You don't have to worry about hopping in a car and driving those miles or getting stopped in the middle of town by a train when you're tyring to get there.

Other advantages seem to be the remodeling of the building itself. Employees say that it better fits the needs of their patients.

"We have a lot of elderly people in our community," said Clinic Manager, Linda Wright, "The access here is wonderful. The hallways are wide. We have bathrooms that are handicapped accessible."

There's still some work left to be done to the facility but administrators say that it should be completed by the fall.