Philip Health Services Lab Renovation
Patients and their families utilizing the facilities at Philip Health Services may notice continued construction in areas. Most recently, the laboratory department moved to temporary quarters, north of the hospital nurses’ station. Patients with lab needs follow a chain of neon pink arrow signs that begin at the old lab’s location until they find themselves in the old CT room, next to the director of nursing office.
The redesign and update of the laboratory is the result of the acquisition of a federal grant, allocated through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Lab director, Joverick Karl Tibunsay, worked with Michelle Hoffman, Rural Hospital Program Coordinator with the South Dakota Department of Health to secure the $258,000 grant.
The laboratory renovation project to expand and update equipment will mitigate many of the obstacles faced by the staff and patients. The goal to create a better work environment, with more accurate outcomes will expedite diagnosis and treatment of many infectious conditions.
The lab will be approximately 40% larger and have its own entrance and exit to the parking area on the north side of the facility, near physical therapy. This entrance will lead potentially infectious patients to an isolation area, where lab staff can safely collect testing samples while keeping the rest of the healthcare facility free from possible contamination. There is also a second collection bay, for patients who are having routine labs drawn for prescription renewals and monitoring of chronic conditions. Those patients will enter the lab from the original entrance inside the hospital, near the radiology department.
The lab facility will be outfitted with countertops and cabinets made from medical grade materials which resist microbial and fungal growth. The tile flooring will be replaced with solid sheet vinyl, also more conducive to sanitization standards.
New equipment for the lab includes a phase contrast microscope. This device alters the light on a specimen and allows an individual to see otherwise transparent cell bodies without having to stain the sample. Staining often results in death or damage to cells.
The lab has also acquired a GeneXpert PCR testing device. This machine will allow samples to be tested for RSV, pneumonia, strep, SARS-CoV2, and both influenza A and B. These tests can now be conducted in the Philip facility, with accurate same day results versus sending samples out to a larger laboratory. This will allow patients to be treated faster and minimize the spread of illness as results are pending.
While the recent pandemic and its requirements for the facility are in the past, the outbreak of serious illness has always been a factor for Philip Health. These renovations will help put the laboratory and its staff in a better position to handle patient samples safely and efficiently. The projected completion of the construction, which has been carried out by Rangel Construction of Rapid City, is slated for late August.