Contact: Thomas Hottman
Sky Lakes officially launches Collaborative Health Center
Sky Lakes today officially launched the construction of a building that will change the future of health care in Oregon.
Local health care and civic leaders joined Oregon Health Sciences University officials at Sky Lakes Medical Center to celebrate the significance of the $50 million Sky Lakes Collaborative Health Center being built on the hospital’s campus. Site excavation began last month.
Photo: Sky Lakes President and CEO Paul Stewart, Dr. Joyce Hollander-Rodriguez, regional associate dean for Campus for Rural Health, and Sky Lakes Board Chairman John Bell look on as Elena Andresen, Ph.D., OHSU executive vice president and provost signs a symbolic steel I-beam during the ceremonial groundbreaking on May 30. Press-ready image (JPEG).
“The Collaborative Health Center is a major investment in the future of our community and the future of the health care industry in Oregon,” said Sky Lakes President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Stewart. Text of Mr. Stewart's remarks (PDF).
It is the second largest construction project ever in Klamath Falls, he noted. The new medical center, which opened in 2007, is the largest ever.
The building, with its emphasis on both health care and team-based medical education, is not unlike an assortment of other Sky Lakes investments in Klamath Falls, said John Bell, chairman of the Sky Lakes Board of Directors.
“Just as the Sky Lakes investments in local parks and area recreational opportunities enhance the attractiveness of the region, the programs that will live in this building will be a magnet for investments in the human capital of health care,” he said.
Construction is expected to be complete in late 2019. The four-story, nearly 100,000-square-foot building will be the new home to the OHSU Campus for Rural Health, which opened in 2016 in Klamath Falls. OHSU chose Klamath Falls as the headquarters site because of the considerable investments by Sky Lakes in local health care and related infrastructure.
About 190 students in the program have learned and practiced community-focused health care while living in Klamath Falls.
OHSU’s space in the new building also includes health care simulation and clinical skills labs for OHSU students and Cascades East resident physicians, as well as Oregon Tech students, to practice providing care to mock patients and refine their technical skills.
“This building and the philosophy it embraces is an investment in the future of the industry by allowing students in a variety of medical disciplines to experience the joy of delivering health care in a rural environment, where they likely will choose to practice,” Stewart said.
The Collaborative Health Center also will allow Cascades East Family Medicine to expand its clinic, and will consolidate on two floors five Sky Lakes primary care clinics now at various locations in Klamath Falls. A walk-in clinic, and on-site Laboratory Services and Diagnostic Imaging facilities will further enhance patient convenience and access to primary care.
“Those features will allow us to better support patients with services such as on-site nutrition counseling and behavioral health consults,” Stewart said.
“Centralized scheduling and better cross-coverage by providers – all possible because of the location – will make the experience better for patients,” he added.
The building’s name – Sky Lakes Collaborative Health Center – is no accident. “It’s more than Sky Lakes, and more than just Klamath Falls. It’s about partnerships that bring more assets into the community.
OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D, agreed. “We create partnerships like this to leverage resources. We also partner to learn from each other. This is not something either of us can do alone,” he said in an email.
“I am very excited by the progress we’re making on this vital collaboration.”
Completion last fall of the two-level parking structure made the new building’s construction possible. Proceeds from Sky Lakes bond issue in 2016 financed the parking structure as well as the medical center’s portion of the Collaborative Health Center. Foundations and ongoing philanthropy comprise the remainder of the financing.