Open for business

Members of the Van Diest Medical Center staff, the Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce along with community members celebrated the completion of the new hospital-based clinic building Friday morning with a ribbon cutting and open house.

The new 16,400-square-foot Van Diest Family Health Clinic will open for business Monday morning. On Friday, the staff led tours through the facility following the ribbon cutting.

“I’d like to acknowledge our entire medical community, all of the physicians and providers as well as the many health care partners who support the hospital and work to make Hamilton County a healthier community,” Lori Rathbun, Chief Executive Officer of Van Diest Medical Center, said during the brief ceremony Friday. Rathbun recognized her staff as well as representatives of Shive Hattery, the project architects, and Graham Construction who were present. She thanked them for their collaboration.

She also offered thanks to the clinic project’s main benefactors, Bob and Mary Van Diest, who were unable to attend the event.

“In their absence, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all they have done to contribute to the community and their significant reinvestment in our future for local health care.”

Rathbun said the completion of the clinic was just the beginning of a new chapter for health care in Hamilton County. She said she looked forward to sharing future developments to meet the county’s health care needs.

The clinic will offer space for up to nine providers with designated exam and treatment areas for family practice providers as well as specialists. The facility also features spacious nurses stations, customer service and administrative areas. The large lobby area offers a view of the medical campus and an area for children.

Currently, the clinic has three family practice providers, Dr. Reda Daher, Marnie Killip, ARNP, and Meghann Smith, PA-C. Additionally Kris and Sue Marvin, behavioral health therapists are seeing patients at the clinic. In an interview last week, Rathbun said she is talking with other providers.

“We’re talking with specialists now and more family providers,” Rathbun said. “But we also look at the needs analysis the pending retirements that exist in the community over time and we’ll try to measure when we might bring other providers in. It’s going to be more of a slower growth.”

She said the hospital also actively looks for alignment opportunities with the existing providers in the community, adding that the whole goal is to keep care local.

“We want to provide services in this community and support this hospital for the long run,” Rathbun said.

Multiple funding sources

The multi-million dollar clinic project was funded through several sources including the donation of $3 million from the Van Diests. Other clinic funding sources, according to hospital officials, were board restricted funds of $2.76 million earmarked for the project, as well $200,000 in hospital funds allocated for capital equipment included in the total clinic financing package.

The City of Webster City learned Friday that it has been awarded a $1 million loan and a $300,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural economic development loan and grant program. According to Bill DeMuth, city economic development director, the city will contribute $60,000 in matching funds to the award for a total of $1.360 million that will be loaned to Van Diest Medical Center for the new clinic and technology upgrades.

Under the loan program, the USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn pass through to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural area. The business recipients repay the lending utility directly and the utility is then responsible for paying back the USDA.

As the hospital repays its loan back to the City, $360,000 of the loan payment will go into a city-managed revolving loan fund to be used to spur additional economic development in the city county and region.

“Through collaborative efforts, not only does the hospital benefit as a loan and grant recipient, but the reinvestment in rural Iowa economies is an extremely positive and much-needed opportunity to further enhance area growth and development,” said Rathbun in thanking the USDA and the City.