New technology and beds are among the investments made since St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center took over the former St. Benedict's Family Medical Center in Jerome in January 2012.
The acquisition came with the agreement that St. Luke's would begin investing in upgrades.
While St. Luke's Jerome has already seen a handful of changes, administrators and other employees are still finishing the transition process, says Jim Angle, chief executive officer of St. Luke's Magic Valley.
Here's what has been done so far:
1. Installing a digital mammography unit. Last January, St. Luke's Health System said it would give $500,000 to St. Luke's Jerome to install the unit. That will cut commuting costs for patients who previously had to go elsewhere, says Curtis Maier, administrative director for St. Luke's Jerome.
"Digital mammography has become the standard of care for St. Luke's across the system," Maier says. The unit installation is expected to be ready for patient use this month.
2. Electronic medical records. St. Luke's Health System gave $280,000 for St. Luke's Jerome for a records system that allows private physicians to receive patient information immediately from the hospital and helps inform physicians at the Jerome hospital about care patients may have received at St. Luke's hospital in Twin Falls.
3. New beds and nurses station. St. Luke's Jerome is a 25-bed critical-access hospital. After talking to the staff and nurses, the hospital decided to replace and rearrange the nurses station to improve patient services, Angle says. The improvements have an estimated value of $1.6 million, he says.
The Twin Falls and Jerome hospitals have set up community focus groups to gather targeted feedback, Angle says. The hospital is seeking input from the medical staff, businesses and Hispanics. Their needs will help determine what future upgrades are needed, Angle says.