TMH groundbreaking sets stage for another later this year
Some of the same people posing with gold shovels at the future site of the Tomah Memorial Hospital Occupational Health Clinic will be striking the same pose later this year.
Site work and construction had already started prior the official groundbreaking Friday, March 31 for the clinic. By the time that building opens its doors on Townline Road sometime in late summer, site work or construction could be started for a new Tomah Memorial Hospital on Tomah's south side just off Interstate 90.
TMH is stepping up health care offered to local businesses and industries by constructing a new 3,400 sq. ft. occupational health and wellness clinic in Tomah’s Industrial Park. The estimated $500,000, one-story building is under construction at the corner of Townline Road and Martin Avenue.
“One of the big requests we received from the local businesses is that they would like a site closer to them,” said hospital clinic operations director Kyle Berra. “Currently we are operating on multiple levels of the hospital and this new facility will give us a type of one-stop shop. We felt that by moving into the industrial park we would be right around the corner or across the street from many of our largest employers in the Tomah or Monroe County area.”
TMH currently offers services to about 100 area businesses and industries. The clinic will not be open to the general public, but will specialize in work-related services, whether that be a work related injury or a pre-employment type of a need.
Berra said health services include; rehabilitation services like pre-work screens, evaluations and conditioning, drug collections and testing, physical exams, testing and vaccinations, plus health, wellness and education services at the clinic and on-site at the business or industry.
Radiology services will be offered at some point, Berra added.
“I think businesses are always facing more scrutiny from regulatory agencies to cut down on work-related injuries," said Berra. “The businesses are really making an effort to hire the right people for the job, those who are healthy enough to do the job and for those that are unfortunate enough to be injured on the job, they want them to get back to full work as safely as possible.”
TMH administrator Phil Stuart expects groundbreaking for the new hospital in an August/ September window. But this project has always been a goal.
"This has been part of our strategic plan for a number of years," Stuart said.
Last year the hospital purchased the property and had an existing house on the site razed to make way for the new clinic. The hospital had originally looked at leasing available space in the nearby Tomah School District Robert Kupper Learning Center.
The pieces never fell into place to proceed. TMH was looking at a long-term lease and the school district was unable commit. The project would have cost what Stuart called "significant dollars" to remodel space in the Kupper Center for an uncertain lease period.
The clinic will accommodate walk-in patients, for drug screenings, but the majority of patient visits will be by appointment through the employee’s business or local health care provider.
Plans for the facility include patient examination rooms, a rehabilitation area, audiology room and staff working space. The parking lot would be designed for “easy access for trucks” to accommodate truckers needing work-related tests.
Berra said the facility would include a staff of five, including a nurse practitioner, registered nurse, a medical assistant, a drug collection specialist and community outreach assistant. He said additional employees could be added as business volume dictates.
Tomah Lumber is the general contractor for the project.
“We’re hoping for August or September for a move in,” Berra said. “Everybody is pretty excited.”