New look, other changes slated for medical center

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 14, 2002

King’s Daughters Medical Center is in for a new look in a fewweeks, and citizens should start noticing that and otherdifferences soon, hospital officials said.

“There’s going to be some very obvious changes to the hospitalin the next six to eight weeks,” said Phillip Grady, KDMC’s chiefexecutive officer.

Perhaps the most noticeable change will be KDMC’s new color,which is coming about as a result of a need to address somelingering water-related problems.

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Grady said the current hospital building was constructed in1964. He said rain and moisture on outside walls would leak in andcreate problems inside.

“It’d make the paint peel off the walls and so forth,” Gradysaid.

To correct that, an elastomeric coating to waterproof thebuilding will be added. Grady said the rubberized material has beenused on several retail buildings around town and other hospitals inthe state.

As a result, the hospital will have new color. After testingseveral colors, KDMC officials settled on what Grady called”greige,” which is a greyish-beige color.

“This is going to have have tremendous advantages for thehospital in a number of ways,” Grady said.

Grady said the coating will reduce internal and externalmaintenance, lower utility costs and improve the aesthetics of thebuildings because they will be one color. Future hospital additionswill also be given the rubberized paint coating.

Mike Wallace, KDMC plant operations manager, said crews thisweek power-washed walls in preparation for the painting work, whichshould start next week. Depending on the weather, he said thepainting will be done in sections and should take six to eightweeks.

Another change that will be less visible involves some newsecurity access measures. The measures are expected to go intoeffect next week.

Using smart chip technology in employee security badges,Information Systems Director Carl Smith said access to areasrelated to seven external doors and four internal doors can becontrolled.

Smith said the badges are coded to specific employees, whichwill allow administrators to control access to areas such aspatient records storage. Grady added that KDMC is ahead offorthcoming federal regulations mandating better efforts to keeppatient records secure and confidential.

In addition, employee movements can be tracked using thetechnology, Smith said.

“It also allows us to automate door locking,” Grady said.

Hospital officials said the measures, which will not interferewith fire or other emergency safety precautions, will allow thedoors to be locked at night, on holidays or whenever needed. Theyadded that the access activities are designed to encourage visitorsto use entrances that are designated for them.

“What we’re trying to do is get people to use to the front twoentrances,” Wallace said.

Officials also expressed concerns about trying to reduce visitortraffic through the emergency room. They were hopeful the measureswould produce the desired results.

“It makes it a lot more convenient for patients trying to beadmitted,” Grady said about limiting hospital visitors using theemergency room entrance.

Also involving the emergency room, Grady and Wallace mentioned anew covered entrance to that area of the hospital. They said thenew entrance will replace one that leaked and improveappearances.

Many public facilities have become more security consciousfollowing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Grady indicated that KDMCwas no exception.

“There’s nothing more important than the security of thepatients, visitors and doctors to the hospital,” Grady said. “Afterthe tragedies of Sept. 11, we thought these would be importantsteps in the improving the security of the hospital.”