Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Expansion completed in February has received limited use because of patient volume decline due to pandemic limitations

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The St. Charles Prineville expansion was completed in February, but the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in limited usage of the new space.

St. Charles Prineville wants people to not only know about their recent expansion, but feel free to make use of it as the need arises.

The expanded space opened in late February, featuring an expanded family care clinic, an expanded and upgraded outpatient rehab facility and a new immediate care clinic. But that opening closely coincided with pandemic-related closures in mid-March and since then, patient volumes have been lower than expected.

Todd Shields, vice president and hospital administrator of St. Charles Prineville, attributes that at least in part to fear of getting care and a lack of awareness that these new and expanded services exist.

"We had just barely opened our expanded clinics and new Immediate Care when COVID hit," he said. "So, we're trying to share with the community that we're open for business, we're safe for care and we have a new Immediate Care clinic where you can walk right in for care every day of the week, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. That means you can be seen in a clinic setting for your urgent needs rather than going to the emergency department."

St. Charles leaders stress that the new facilities mean better access to providers, visiting specialists and rehabilitation services for members of the community, as well as — for the first time ever — same-day, walk-in appointments for anyone with unexpected health issues that are urgent, but not truly emergent.

The effort to expand and improve Prineville's facilities was made possible by a combined donation of $4.5 million from the Prineville Hospital Foundation and the Pioneer Memorial Hospital Residual Board — two legacy organizations whose main focus was to help ensure Crook County's health care needs are met.

That donation formed the foundation of a two-year project that renovated 2,500 square feet of space and added another 5,890 square feet of space, including 12 new exam rooms. The changes provide space for the clinics' staff of 16 providers and roster of visiting specialists, including cardiology, endocrinology, women's health, orthopedics, podiatry, neurosurgery, preoperative medicine, urology and general surgery.

Prineville's outpatient rehab clinic was also expanded to include five private treatment rooms (up from three) as well as more gym space, said Laurie McCall, manager of outpatient therapy services. She added that the clinic serves Prineville by providing comprehensive interdisciplinary rehab services including speech language pathology, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

"I think this project stands as proof that St. Charles is committed not only to Crook County, but to prioritizing the health of this community," said Dr. Maggie King, Prineville's chief medical officer. "I couldn't be more proud of these facilities and services in Prineville, and I couldn't be more proud of the team that has worked so hard to make them a reality."

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