A New Hospital May be Coming to the Heartland

Big changes are in the works for health care in Poplar Bluff. Saint Francis Medical Center and a group of doctors called the Physicians Advanced Health Care Group want to build a new 50-bed hospital in Poplar Bluff. They say it's something that the community has asked for and needs, but making the plans is only half of it.

Dr. Fred Caldwell, a physician in Poplar Bluff says, "Poplar Bluff physicians have always had an excellent relationship with Saint Francis and the Cape Girardeau medical community, and now we're building on that relationship." They want to build that relationship on an area of land in the north part of the city called Physicians Park. Plans are underway to build another medical campus, giving more options to people in area. For years, the only hospitals were Lucy Lee, or Doctors Regional. In May of 1999 the two hospitals merged into Three Rivers Healthcare, and now supporters of the new proposed hospital say people want another place to go. Jeffrey Bush, CEO of Physicians Advanced Health Care Group says, "The community wanted additional services available and were having to leave the community to seek those services. The physicians banded together and found a great partner in Saint Francis so those patients wouldn't have to leave the community."

The only building in Physicians Park right now is an Imaging Center that opened in October. There's a lot more to do before the 50-bed hospital can be built there, but if it is approved it will offer many different services. If and when the hospital is approved, services will include CT, and MRI scans, outpatient surgeries, and cancer care. It will also provide rehabilitation services and prenatal care. Home health care will also be included, by providing medical equipment that patients need to use at their home.

Again, right now there are just plans to build a hospital. In a town with over 400 hospital beds already at Three Rivers Healthcare, they must now prove to the state of Missouri that Poplar Bluff needs another hospital. Right now, both groups are prepared to file a letter of intent late this year. Approval by the state could take up to three months, and if approved the groundbreaking for the new facility would be sometime in the spring of 2003.