OWENSBORO, Ky. (2/20/14) – Despite the demolition of several buildings at Owensboro Health’s former location on Parrish Avenue, the complex will remain a key component of overall health care for the community, officials said at a public announcement this (Thursday) morning.
In front of a large crowd of invited community leaders, guest speakers, and the media, Owensboro Health CEO Phil Patterson recalled the day the Parrish Ave. location opened – June 22, 1941 – as a day of celebration for Owensboro.
“They never stopped dreaming,” Patterson said of the board of directors that developed the hospital project. “We’ll never stop dreaming. Great things are still in store for the Parrish complex.”
Owensboro Health Board Chairperson Deborah Nunley outlined three major components of the facility’s future, including expansion of “high quality primary care,” increased levels of service in cancer treatment and education.
“This will be a place where health care careers are grown,” Nunley said.
She said the decision to demolish some of the existing structures was a difficult but necessary choice. She said no one was interested in purchasing the facility, and many had a concern that the building was “in danger of becoming an eyesore” for Owensboro. Razing the buildings that are incompatible with growth will make way for new development to take place, part of what Nunley referred to as “the ’who knows?’ factor” for the future of the site.
Four structures will remain on the newly renamed Parrish Avenue Campus: the Breckenridge Medical Office building, the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center, a portion of the existing hospital where the conference was held, and a parking garage with parking for more than 500 vehicles.
Finally, the speakers noted, the McAuley Center will merge with the Primary Care Center into the McAuley Primary Care Center. The goal of the merger, said Ed Heath, vice-president of business development and community health for Owensboro Health, is to expand primary care services for all patients.
“We must make access to care a top priority,” Heath said, noting that many people who can’t afford to see a primary care physician go to the emergency room instead, resulting in higher medical bills and overall cost increases. The merger is expected to be completed in the fall, though no specific date for the opening of the new facility was suggested.
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