Rock Regional Hospital opens for patients

A view from the window in one of the rooms at the new Rock Regional Hospital shows the Derby water tower standing tall outside. The hospital officially opened last week.

Rock Regional Hospital is now officially open.

Its first day was April 24 with a soft opening. The hospital is now pursuing its Medicare licensure and once that is complete, management plans to have a public grand opening during the summer.

While Derby has other health care facilities, Rock Regional, at 3251 N. Rock and just north of Field Station: Dinosaurs, is its only in-patient medical center.

The 89,000-square-foot hospital had been originally projected to open earlier this spring, but opening one is a “very complex process,” said Barry Beus, the hospital’s vice president of business development and strategy.

It’s not just a matter of finishing a building and hiring staff, as complex policies and procedures need to be put in place and physicians need to go through the credentialing process.

Furthermore, there are inspections from the State Fire Marshall and Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

“We had hoped that the inspections might take place sooner; meanwhile, we’ll review and fine-tune our operational processes and systems,” Beus said.

He did say the inspections went well, and credits the hospital’s chief clinical officer, Cindy Slaydon, for that.

All the necessary equipment is in place and there have been no major issues, he said.

Beus was especially pleased with the staff that management was able to hire.

“We are fortunate to have a very skilled team in place who are all very excited to be a part of a new hospital,” he said.

At this time, the hospital has about 135 employees and currently has few vacancies; however, there could be more people hired with a projected increase in patient volume and admissions.

Its officials say Rock Regional will be able to provide almost all of the medical services needed by the community, including acute care and surgeries; however, some situations will need to be referred to Wichita hospitals.

It has 24 medical/surgical beds, seven ICU beds, two procedure rooms, four operating rooms, two heart catheterization lab rooms and six emergency department rooms.

There are two additional elements to the campus, which are two medical office buildings.

The first is north of the hospital. Plans are being finalized and building it will start in a few weeks, he said.

That building will bring additional outpatient services to the community including orthopedics, pediatrics and dialysis. It also will have education and training space for the hospital.

There will be a second medical office building on the south side of the hospital.

Beus said after years of planning and preparation, there was a lot of emotion when the doors finally opened for patients for the first time.

“The opening was an exciting anticipated milestone made possible by an outstanding effort from staff,” he said. “Our chief executive officer, Jason Eitutis, likes to say that this hospital has been ‘150 years in the making.’”

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