Lake County Health Department: Zion Health Center
With the goal of offering a broad spectrum of personal and community services to individuals and families who are unable to access care through the private medical sector throughout Lake County, the health department saw the need to expand the service offerings within the community of Zion. With the funding for anticipated new ground up facility not available, the health department worked with the team at Kluber to find alternative solutions to their facility needs. In late 2016, a building which formally served as temporary housing for persons receiving treatment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Zion facility became available. The clinic has been designed to conform to a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model for care and treatment.
The challenge was to re-purpose the existing single story 16,821 square foot building into the new community health center. The team at Kluber worked with the administration and staff to develop the building concept which offers a full compliment of health services including primary care, women and children’s health, dental, and behavioral health.
In working with the existing “L shaped” building the main entry is located at the interior corner of the L, with groupings of spaces working out from there along the existing corridors. To minimize the feeling of the long corridors the interior walls have been opened up to create identifiable entries into the clusters of treatment spaces. The project also includes the development of a new parking area on the site of the existing Zion Clinic facility just east of the new facility.
Designing a Building to Support a New Healthcare Delivery Model
The public health sector is arguably the health sector that benefits the most from implementation of the PCMH healthcare delivery model. Public health facilities often feel like cold, impersonal places where patients feel isolated, unimportant and disconnected. A facility designed around the PCMH model changes that by providing a more thoughtful approach to the interrelationship of healthcare delivery and facility design.
Tony Beltran is Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center (LCHD) where transition to the model of patient-centered health care has redefined their new building in Zion, IL. “There were several reasons we moved to the model of PCMH,” Beltran explains. “We wanted to move toward a different way of providing better care while enhancing the patient experience.”
“Our principal objective in this plan of medicine is to provide each patient a team of health care practitioners that work together across the spectrum of health needs. Each team member works with the patient on the area of medicine to which they are best suited, from nursing to medical assistants to dietitians. Even dental is integrated into the whole care program for our patients.”
This model of medical care requires changes to the format of traditional healthcare facilities. This is where the PCMH model becomes vital to the practice of medicine. “The doctor shares space with team members,” Beltran relates. “It has taken some time in getting used to this model, but once our practitioners see the efficiency in being able to communicate about patients, and address each issue more comprehensively, the care actually becomes more efficient. Nurses and case managers handle things that they are trained to do. Everyone on the team from medical assistants to nutrition counselors to doctors knows their important role. But the overall goal is understanding the patient better and building a health plan that produces better outcomes.”
Dave McDermott is Grants Program Manager for the LCHD and as such has been deeply involved in the conversion to PCMH and its improved setups for doctors and patients. McDermott notes that the new LCHD facility is an indication of a new direction for the country as a whole. “The Zion building is the first building for us that, from day one, was designed and will be built with the PCMH model in mind. That being said, we are looking at all of our buildings to see what needs to be done to better encourage the model. The physical facility can have a big impact on the kind of care delivered and so I think you’ll see more organizations, both public and private, really looking at the PCMH model as they go to renovate existing buildings or design new buildings.”
Lake County Health Department
Size of Project
16,821 Square Feet
- Electrical Engineering
- Interior Design
- Mechanical Engineering
- Structural Engineering