RGH expanding

Roosevelt General Hospital will move into an off-site physical therapy facility and remodel and expand the Physicians Clinic within the next year, according to officials’ plans.

Hospital Chief Executive Officer Larry Leaming said the new physical therapy office in Eastern Plaza on Avenue O would open in early July. He hopes to have work on the clinic finished next year in spring or early summer.

“We’re not meeting the needs of this community when it comes to health care,” Leaming said.

Too many people leave Portales for medical care, he said, and the town doesn’t have enough doctors.

The clinic must make efficient use of space to accommodate new doctors and more patients, Leaming said. Also, the hospital is becoming congested as its work grows, he said.

Leaming wants to put off large construction projects as long as possible because they are expensive and the economy is lagging.

“We’re just going to take little bites at a time here,” he said.

To make more space at the hospital, most physical therapy services are moving to Eastern Plaza. Physical therapist and Director of Rehabilitation Services Danny Justus said physical therapy will be there until the hospital can get a bond passed for a new building on site.

“We still will continue to help everyone we can with every physical deficit,” he said.

Physical therapists will provide all of their services except cardiac rehabilitation at Eastern Plaza, Justus said. Cardiac rehabilitation will remain at the hospital so patients have immediate access to doctors, he said.

The 3,000-square-foot building at Eastern Plaza needed just a few changes to meet requirements for physical therapy, since it had housed a pharmacy and doctor’s office.

“It doubles the space we have available for physical therapy,” Leaming said. “We currently have a backlog in physical therapy. We cannot get enough patients through.”

The hospital budgeted $20,000 for renovations, and Leaming said the building owners are helping with permanent improvements by decreasing rent for the first year.

The building is to house treatment rooms, storage space and a gym with exercise equipment. Leaming said the facility provides the opportunity to recruit more physical therapists to expand services.

For the clinic remodel, Leaming expects a cost of about $1.5 million.

“It’s definitely needed,” said clinic Administrator Tina Hill.

The clinic needs expansion for better patient flow and taking on more doctors to extend hours, she said.

Plans include filling in the open space between the clinic and the hospital. Leaming said workers are to remodel a little more than 5,500 square feet and add 4,000 square feet of new space between the buildings.

Much of the clinic business space would go in the new construction, he said. Also, it would provide separate rooms for several procedures to alleviate scheduling conflicts in the hospital, Leaming said.

For the remodeling, Leaming said workers would remove business space and add exam rooms, offices for doctors and a blood draw station.

Later, he said, the clinic could be expanded on its northeast side to allow more doctors to see more patients.