Combined health center opens today in NashuaBy SIMON RIOS
Union Leader Correspondent
January 15. 2012 10:55PM
NASHUA - The doctors of Dartmouth-Hitchcock's new health facility will see their first patients today, as the 150,000-square-foot ambulatory care center opens its doors to combine the services of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua East, West and Squires Centers.
Dr. Sanders Burstein, who oversaw the construction of the building, said it will offer an array of services under one roof, including labs and X-ray, allergy, primary and urgent care, as well as specialists in gastroenterology, orthopedics, and occupational and physical therapy.
'We've designed the building with input from patients and from staff and focus groups from the community,' said Burstein, medical director for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua. 'We were looking for a lot more convenience in terms of things being in one location instead of three.'
In addition to the services previously offered in Nashua, the new facility will house extended hours for urgent appointments, on-site endoscopy services, diagnostic testing including lab and radiology services, hematology and oncology services from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and pediatric specialties from the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
Though not as large as the Manchester center, the facility off Exit 8 on the Everett Turnpike will provide CAT scan and MRI services, as well as dermatology, cardiology, neurology, and infectious disease care.
Also available will be obstetric/gynecological and other women's services, including breast health and midwifery.
Burstein said the project, which cost $48 million, came in $2 million under budget, something he attributed to the state of the economy.
'Some subcontractors needed to redo some work,' he said, 'and they did it and they got paid for it. Nobody shortchanged anybody.'
'My job was to make sure that the principals and the overall scope of the project was in line with our total vision,' he said.
In order to carry that out, Burstein established a blog that resulted in 50 posts, pulling some 300 responses from staff. Some of the questions asked were 'how should our building reflect our mission statement, and how can it reflect team work?' Other aspects of the project such as color and design were also put to the staff for feedback.
'We're not just a medical office building,' Burstein said, saying the offices are strategically placed throughout the facility to complement the way personnel from different fields collaborate with one another.
'We designed (the facility) so that there is a space for doctors to be away from patients … but when they're seeing patients there are computers in every exam room, and they also have a place to sit down next to their nurse so between visits they can (be in contact).'
The new facility will also contain a Center of Shared Decision Making,' where patients will be provided with information regarding their options in treating their conditions.
Dartmouth Hitchock, which has some 23 locations in New Hampshire, is a non-profit organization that employees over 9,000 people in New Hampshire and Vermont.