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Health news and issues in the Ozarks.

New Cox Monett Hospital Set To Open Friday In Monett

A new Cox Monett Hospital will open Friday, January 22, along Highway 60 on the east side of Monett.

The 100,000-square-foot facility replaces a hospital that was built in 1953.  It will offer a wide spectrum of care, according to CoxHealth, including surgery; labor and delivery; emergency care; radiology; and more.

The hospital contains 18 beds for medical-surgical patients, four critical care rooms and seven labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum (LDRP) rooms.

Dr. Elizabeth Lucore, chief of staff at Cox Monett Hospital, said the LDRP rooms will allow moms and babies to remain together at all times.

"After a newborn is born, we know that babies do best to be with mom all the time and we know that moms do best to be with baby all the time," she said.

Ten of the 25 in-patient rooms will be negative pressure rooms.  Air in those rooms will be purified and released outside to prevent the spread of disease inside the hospital.  The facility’s president, Darren Bass, said they were outfitted for that purpose after the pandemic hit.

"It's awful that it happened, but it came at the right time to make the level of design changes that we needed to make in order to outfit the hospital," said Bass.

The new facility also includes a clinic, currently the largest in the CoxHealth system.  It brings together three existing clinics and will have 14 providers and 42 exam rooms. 

Bass said they’ll offer translators for the Hispanic population in the area.  According to the U.S. Census, in 2019, 27.4 percent of Monett’s population was Hispanic.  And Lucore said rooms are designed so family members can stay together.

Cox Monett Hospital got its start in 1914 when Dr. William West opened a hospital for patients in the Monett community, according to CoxHealth.  His hospital was donated to the Vincentian Sisters of Charity in 1943 and became known as St. Vincent’s Hospital.  It became part of CoxHealth in 1993.

The old hospital is located in a residential part of town, which Bass said is not ideal.

"When our helicopter lands in our emergency department parking lot, which, again, 20 years ago wasn't very often, now it is often, we actually have to have our local police and our fire department come, block the streets.  We have to make sure we don't have school buses in the area.  We have to really patrol that area," Bass said.

And he pointed out that a helicopter landing at night creates a noisy situation for neighbors.  The new location, he said, will have a designated helipad.  Another advantage of the new location is that the MRI machine will be inside the hospital.  At the old facility, the MRI is located in a trailer, and patients have to walk outside to get to it.

The new facility was designed so that additional construction and expansion will be possible if needed in the future, according to Bass. 

All artwork in the new hospital was done by local artists and reflects the local community.

And Lucore said they’re looking into finding grant money to add outside walking trails and sitting areas for both patients and visitors.

Bass said the first inpatient at the old hospital will be moved to the new hospital Friday evening.  He said anyone needing emergency care should go to the new hospital as of 6 p.m. Friday, but the old hospital's emergency department will remain open until the last patient leaves.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.