BAHC celebrates 60th Anniversary
Boscobel Area Health Care celebrates 60 years of providing medical care to the community. The hospital held its original dedication ceremony on October 18, 1952, and began providing medical care shortly afterwards.
Boscobel Area Health Care began when local physicians joined forces with the community to raise funds for a community hospital. A federal program, called the Hill-Burton Act, provided communities matching funds to build public hospitals. Physicians E.R. Freymiller, M.W. Randall, J.R. McNamee, and E.M. Randall donated the existing Brookside-Parker hospital and the property on which it stood to the new Memorial Hospital. The old building remained standing for five years after Memorial Hospital was open.
The new hospital was a tremendous asset to the Boscobel Community. A brochure distributed to citizens during the original fundraising effort explained, "A hospital means nurses constantly on call, laboratories for tests necessary to diagnose and treat, X-rays for diagnostic and therapeutic use, pharmacy to dispense medicines, electrocardiograph to study heart conditions, plasma and blood bank for transfusions, record department for medical reports and patient histories." These basic services were offered as part of the new hospital.
Memorial Hospital became Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home of Boscobel with the addition of a 19-bed nursing home. The home expanded to serve 50 residents with the completion of a 1973 addition, which added a second floor. The nursing home remains in operation today under private ownership as "Boscobel Care and Rehab."
The hospital underwent another name change in 1992, adopting its current name Boscobel Area Health Care. Two years later the organization added outpatient clinics, with the addition of Bluff Street Clinic in Boscobel and Riverside Family Practice in Muscoda. Fennimore Family Medicine in Fennimore was added in 2006.
The hospital has undergone many physical additions, with a new medical/surgical area and administrative offices in 1990, surgery addition in 1992, and new emergency room in 2008. More than 20,000 people have received emergency or walk-in care services since the new emergency room opened four years ago.
Changes in healthcare
Advances in medicine and technology have changed the face of healthcare. Virtually every aspect of health care has been touched by change -- from record keeping to medication administration to visiting hours. When the hospital opened in 1952, the world was still two years away from a polio vaccine. Compare that to today, when more than 90% of employees and physicians receive a flu vaccine.
"Healthcare is an exciting field because every day brings us new information and processes to improve the way we care for people," said Theresa Braudt, Director of Nursing.
Changes in Technology
Technology has improved virtually every area of medicine, from record keeping to communicating with physicians at other hospitals to diagnostic care. "The best part of the new emergency room in 2008 was that it was equipped with state of the art technology," said Braudt.
Boscobel Area Health Care now has a digital radiology program, which includes digital mammography and X-ray. X-rays taken at BAHC can be read by radiologists in La Crosse because of new digital capability. "It means getting results and consultations quicker, because we don't have to mail the X-Ray films to specialists," said Rita Ferrie, Radiology Manager. Ferrie said it also allows physicians at BAHC and specialists to look at the same X-Ray at the same time, "allowing for second opinions, discussions between our local physicians and specialists, and more coordinated care."
Three years after Memorial Hospital opened, only 37% of hospitals had a pharmacist on staff. Today, BAHC has two pharmacists, as well as technology to meet after-hour medication needs.
BAHC Pharmacist Doug Knoble said medication safety has been a big focus at Boscobel Area Health Care. The pharmacy adopted a computer system in 1991 to improve efficiency and record keeping, and incorporated into a facility-wide computer system in 2001. An automated dispensing system call Pyxis, which reduces potential for human error, was part of the new emergency room addition in 2008. The medication safety program was further enhanced with the addition of bar-code scanning in the medical/surgical area in 2010.
Knoble said medication knowledge also continues to increase. "We know more than ever about antibiotic use, narcotic safety, and how medications interact with each other. The field as really changed in both the knowledge and medication available."
Privacy and Personalization
Braudt said one of the most exciting changes in nursing is the move towards patient privacy and personalized care. "In the 1950s, care was very hospital-centric rather than patient-centric. It was designed to meet the needs of staff rather then individual patients. The reverse is now true," Braudt said.
The move towards privacy can be seen in the physical layout of the hospital -- smaller waiting rooms, private registration areas, and private patient rooms -- but it is the change in philosophy that has really changed patient care. "Everyone deserves to have private, personalized care and to be involved in making decisions about that care," said Braudt.
Boscobel Area Health Care was recently part of a national movement called "Transforming Care at the Bedside" which resulted in doubling the amount of time nurses spend at the patient's bedside. "We spend more time with the patients. They are included throughout the process and are considered part of the team."
As part of its 60th Anniversary, Boscobel Area Health Care is giving small-group tours of the hospital to highlight improvements and new services. Anyone interested in a tour can contact Barbara Woods at 375-6136.