Marshall County Hospital is expanding to improve patient convenience

Marshall County Hospital is trying to make it easier to keep you family healthy by expanding.

The hospital plans to build a third office building in a parking lot behind the two existing buildings on the hospital’s main campus to house the orthopedic surgeon and x-ray machines.

The hospital is trying to make space for more doctors, so regular patients like Jerry Bennett don’t have to look elsewhere for care.

"If you take some of your family to Paducah, it’s a hard drive day and night," Bennett said.

Marshall County Hospital CEO David Fuqua says the addition of a new building will make room for more doctors and improve patient flow in the orthopedic unit, which will be moved to the new building.

"It should really help as far as the timeliness of getting patients in and out," Fuqua said. 

Now, orthopedic patients go to a separate building to get registered and see their doctor. They then have to make their way to the hospital’s main building to get their x-rays. The expansion combines all of those into one building.

The expansion comes a year after the Kentucky State Auditor released a report showing reduced Medicare and Medicaid payments imposed by the Affordable Care Act were forcing rural county hospitals to make cuts.

"Anytime there’s a major change, there’s always concern, because you don’t know what’s going to come down the pipe," Fuqua said.

Fuqua says the changes have actually been good for the hospital, because more people have insurance coverage to pay for their care.

"It’s better for people to have some coverage than none at all," Fuqua said.

Now the goal is attracting the doctors who will take care of those patients.

The project could be open to bids as soon as next month. Construction is expected to take about six months.  

The audit last year looked at the financial strength of rural hospitals in Kentucky. Lourdes and Caldwell Medical Center were given a "good" financial ranking. Murray-Calloway County, Marshall County, Baptist Health Paducah and Crittenden County were ranked as "fair." The lowest rated local hospital was Livingston County, which got a "poor" financial rating. A spokesperson for the Livingston County Hospital said on Monday that the hospital is in a good financial situation right now. 

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