BANDON — A trip to the emergency room followed by a long stay in the hospital was not the way Walter and Marna Schulz expected to get to know their new community.
But upon arrival at Southern Coos Hospital, they found the staff was prepared to begin immediate treatment on Walter. At the same time, the staff accommodated essential business the Schulzes needed to conduct with another Bandon professional who was willing to meet in the emergency room. Marna is forever grateful to the staff for their care of Walter in his final days and their concern and support for her as well.
"These people reached deeply into their training, experience and personal goodness far beyond what could every be required of them," Marna said in a letter to the Bandon Western World.
"Health Care With a Personal Touch" is the hallmark of the work at Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center, a small, rural hospital operated by the Southern Health District in Bandon. Currently licensed for 21 beds, the hospital was granted Critical Access Hospital status in November of 2000 while also maintaining its designation as a full-service, general acute hospital.
The Southern Coos Health District was formed in 1955 by public vote. The district has provided hospital services as part of its health care offerings since 1960. The first hospital was located on top of a hill overlooking the Coquille River and Pacific Ocean, but it became apparent in the 1990s that the community would benefit from expanded hospital services. Land was donated to the district as part of an estate bequeathed to the hospital in a serene wooded area at the east end of 11th Street and a new hospital was completed in December 1999. The former hospital was torn down and the prime view property sold.
Since that time, service volumes have grown tremendously and the hospital campus has expanded accordingly. Last year, additional parking and two new buildings were added to the campus: The Southern Coos Health Center, which houses the Primary Care Clinic and the Specialty Clinic, and a new building for the Southern Coos Health Foundation and hospital administrative offices.
The hospital nursing services include a four-station emergency department, surgical services, endoscopic services, an outpatient department and a swing-bed program. A new automated medical management system, paid for in part with a grant from the Mr. and Mrs. Michael L. Keiser Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, reduces the probability of medication errors.
The offered services are supported by a full-service laboratory featuring a new chemistry analyzer, a respiratory therapy department, medical imaging services including CT, ultrasound, general radiography and a certified mammography program. Rehabilitation services are contracted.
Together, these programs provide a comprehensive range of diagnostic and therapeutic programs which are not always found in similar hospitals.
The hospital serves southern Coos County and northern Curry County. This primary service area is populated by about 10,000 residents who increasingly look to Southern Coos Hospital and Health Center for their healthcare. The local community presently has three primary physician practices. The Southern Coos Health District employs 112 people and salaries and benefits comprise $9.6 million of SCHD's budget.
In addition, the district serves the highest percentage of Medicare patients of any hospital its size in Oregon and signed a contract with Western Oregon Advanced Health in October 2015, which allows the district to better serve its Medicaid patients.
SCHD also is active in the community. Hospital art shows are curated three to four times a year with specific themes, and any member of the community is welcome to submit art for consideration in the show. An opening reception is held for each show, with live music and treats provided by the active Southern Coos Hospital Ladies Auxiliary. The Ladies Auxiliary raises money through the gift shop to help purchase patient-focused equipment for the hospital.
Health outreach is another mission of the district. They accomplish this through the annual Women's Health Day, Men's Health Day and the fall drive-through free flu shot clinic that doubles as a disaster triage exercise. The district also provides free diabetes education, a bereavement support group and blood pressure screening.
Each year, the Southern Coos Health Foundation holds its biggest fundraiser, the Golf For Health Classic, at Bandon Crossings. Money raised at this popular event helps purchase equipment and upgrades for the hospital.