The Meaning of Care Magazine

Methodist Expansion Keeps Care Convenient and Close to Home 

Published: Nov. 25, 2020
Brittany Hill

Brittany Hill has had a front-row seat to the expansion of women’s services at the Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital campus in Council Bluffs.

First, she was a curious onlooker as the Jennie Edmundson Medical Plaza took shape. Brittany began work as a certified medical coder at the Miller Orthopedic Specialists office in Jennie Edmundson Hospital a few months after the medical plaza’s groundbreaking in 2018. During her lunch breaks, she’d take walks around the hospital campus and saw the $18 million, three-story building rise along busy Kanesville Boulevard. 

After Brittany learned she was pregnant, she had her first appointment in June with OB/GYN Tana Perry, MD, at the Methodist Physicians Clinic location inside the hospital. The medical plaza opened a few weeks later, and Brittany has been seeing Dr. Perry there ever since.

“This new building is more open,” said Brittany, who lives in Malvern, Iowa. “It’s easier to find. You can see it from the street. I’m just excited to be one of the first patients to experience a new facility.”

Soon she’ll get that feeling again. Brittany and husband James plan to deliver their first child, a girl, in January at the hospital’s new Women and Newborns unit – a $10.75 million makeover that’s expected to open in December. 

The projects at Jennie Edmundson are just two of the ways Methodist Health System is expanding services in hospitals, in clinics and virtually to meet the evolving needs of its patients.

“Over the past few years, Methodist has made a tremendous investment in the community to improve the access to quality providers and care,” said Steve Baumert, president and CEO of Jennie Edmundson Hospital. “These investments strengthen the ability for this community to receive care close to home. We’re extremely proud to be part of the Methodist family.”

Methodist Jennie Edmundson Medical Plaza in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The Methodist Jennie Edmundson Medical Plaza opened in June. Photo by Holland Basham Architects


Methodist Physicians Clinic urgent care in Aksarben Village
Methodist's Aksarben Village urgent care clinic opened in September.

Clinics Reaching Out to More Patients

In addition to OB/GYN care, the medical plaza provides Methodist family medicine, urgent care and imaging services. It also leases space to Midwest Gastrointestinal Associates and MD West ONE, with room for additional tenants. But Council Bluffs isn’t the only place where Methodist Physicians Clinic has been pushing ahead with plans to expand services and make care more accessible.

Recent projects include:

Many of the plans revolve around convenience for patients – adapting to their changing needs and lifestyles.

“Our primary care providers and clinics are really the front door of the health system, but we want to expand our footprint so that we’re providing care to the entire community – physically and virtually,” said Mick Ehlert, vice president and chief operating officer of Methodist Physicians Clinic.


Methodist Hospital, Omaha, emergency room expansion project.
A rendering of the Methodist Hospital emergency room project.

Methodist Hospital Emergency Department Expansion

At Methodist Hospital, work continues on the Emergency Department (ED) renovation and expansion – all while remaining open and providing emergency care. The project began in 2019, and Methodist Hospital Foundation met its $25 million fundraising goal earlier this year. On track to be completed in fall 2022, the improved space will not only accommodate increasing patient volumes but also better meet the needs of a modern emergency department. 

Among the features:

  • Twice as many patient rooms for a total of 24
  • Six additional patient bathrooms for a total of seven
  • Four negative airflow rooms for patients with suspected contagious respiratory conditions
  • Two behavioral health exam rooms
  • A decontamination room and shower
  • An improved specialized area for victims of sexual assault 

Additionally, in 2019, Methodist Hospital was the first hospital in Nebraska to be awarded Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA) from the American College of Emergency Physicians. With over a third of the ED’s patients being age 65 or older, the expansion project aims to build on the GEDA designation by employing a design that keeps seniors in mind with improved privacy, safety and convenience.

“Our goal with every project is to elevate the patient experience,” said Tracy Madden-McMahon, president and chief executive officer of Methodist Hospital Foundation. “This is about more than adding rooms. This is about making sure we are meeting the needs of each and every patient who walks through our doors. How can we best care for them? This project is going to be a great addition to our community.”

Chelsea Craig, BSN, RN, service leader for the Methodist Hospital and Methodist Women’s Hospital emergency departments, said she’s looking forward to the “flow” of the finished ED. For instance, patients and staff will have more room in waiting and treatment areas, and there’s easy access between the decontamination room and improved ambulance bay.

“Those types of things will be huge,” Craig said. “More than anything, it’s just going to provide us the space, atmosphere and capabilities to take care of patients the way that we want to take care of them.”


Methodist Physicians Clinic OB/GYN Tana Perry, MD
Dr. Tana Perry

“A Better Experience for Everyone”

Back in Council Bluffs, Dr. Perry is enjoying the improvements the medical plaza offers. Chief among them is more space. On the second floor, the growing group that includes OB/GYN physicians, nurse practitioners and a midwife has more room to work and collaborate; maternal-fetal medicine specialists from Methodist Women’s Hospital now have their own dedicated area; and more procedure rooms allow patients to schedule appointments sooner. The floor is also home to imaging services – mammography, ultrasound and DEXA scanning – and lab services are also housed within the building. 

“I think it’s all just a lot more streamlined,” Dr. Perry said. “It’s all right here.”

She also has her eye on Jennie Edmundson Hospital as the Women and Newborns project wraps up. The 18,000-square-foot project features six private rooms for mothers in labor, three Jacuzzi tubs for pain control, 12 postpartum rooms, a cesarean section suite, four Level II NICU bays, expanded space for childbirth education and breastfeeding support, an improved infant security system, and a larger waiting room for visitors. The upgraded unit will allow hospital staff to deliver 1,000 babies a year – up from 600 now – while also treating gynecological patients.

Dr. Perry said the projects show Methodist’s commitment to having facilities that keep pace with the outstanding care it’s always been known for. 

“Having the walls match what we’re doing is really nice,” she said. “I think it really speaks to Methodist’s major commitment to women’s health, both obstetrics and gynecology, and the rapid growth of this field.”

A rendering of a patient room on the new Women and Newborns unit.

For Brittany, the investments are impressive and exciting as she nears her due date. She considered delivering in Omaha, but when she learned of the improvements at Jennie Edmundson, she was sold.

“I think it says a lot,” she said. “It means that they really care about their patients. They’re willing to accommodate and just make it a better experience for everyone.”

Photos by Daniel Johnson

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About the Author

Patrick Smith, a content strategist for Methodist Health System, has over a decade of experience writing and editing for newspapers and other publications. He enjoys meeting new people and telling stories that highlight Methodist's mission to deliver The Meaning of Care.

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