4/21 EDITORIAL

WVH strategic plan good news for area

WVH strategic plan

good news for area

The future of West Valley Hospital appears to be bright and prosperous -- and that, indeed, is welcome news for Dallas and Polk County.

Bob Brannigan, West Valley Hospital's new chief administrator, has been making the rounds in recent weeks, getting to know the community in which he will work and live. More importantly, he has been sharing details of a recently released three-year strategic plan for WVH approved by Salem Health's Board of Trustees in March.

His message: "I didn't come here to close down this hospital. I want to see it grow and turn into a sustainable resource for this community."

There has for several years been a certain level of uncertainty regarding the future of WVH and whether its owner, Salem Health, would eventually close the small-town medical center in favor of expansion at Salem Hospital. But Brannigan is assuring folks that, in fact, Salem Health has big plans for its Dallas hospital.

In summary, the plan is to allow the hospital to grow and provide more services to patients in Dallas, rather than requiring folks to head to Salem or other communities.

Some of the work toward achieving that goal is already completed or under way. Future plans include hiring more primary care physicians, and installing new lab and imaging equipment. About $3.25 million in remodeling and upgrades to the surgical unit, the emergency department, patient rooms, specialist clinic space and the exterior of the hospital are planned for this year and 2011.

The commitment to Polk County's only hospital is long overdue. It should be embraced by the public and private sector as a sign that our region will rebound from its economic downturn, can and will prosper, and be more than a bedroom community for Salem.

We welcome the good news about West Valley Hospital and what Salem Health has planned for the facility. Much like schools and downtown businesses, a hospital is a key component for any vibrant and growing community.

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