Changes at LCO Clinic include new director and expansion project

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 | by Joe Morey |

Former long-time director of the LCO Health Center, Don Smith, has been appointed as the interim director while the position is posted. Greg Duffek resigned last month after serving for the past three years.

LCO Tribal Council member, Tweed Shuman, said, “As health center liaison, I supported accepting the resignation of Greg Duffek. It’s time to move on with the implementation phase of the health care assessment plan we recently had done at the clinic.”

Shuman said they are rebuilding and restructuring the clinic. There are two construction projects currently underway which he said would be completed in the next couple of months.

The tribal governing board hired Sarah Cormell of OOBoodashkwinishn Consulting to complete a health care assessment plan and to formulate a plan for the clinic moving forward. Shuman said they contacted Cormell to help them with the implementation phase.

“Rebuilding and restructuring is a useful tool that promises to remove people and functions that do not add value to the business or undermine the business’ efforts and goals,” Cormell told Shuman in an email.

Cormell indicated a clear plan and goals have to be set by leadership, which starts with the TGB, then moves on down through the clinic chain of command, so that, “Employees will have confidence and reassurance that this process was thought through to establish safety, support, and guidance for ongoing growth during this time of change.”

Part of the restructuring phase includes appointing a Transition Team made up of key employees who will directly assist the interim director. Shuman said the tribal governing board is in the process of appointing this team.

In the rebuilding of the clinic, two projects are near completion. Over the course of the clinic’s 30-year history, it has seen a lot of growth requiring additional space. According to the tribe’s weekly newsletter, in August they described the two projects underway.

The former Woodcrafter’s building on Hwy B is being remodeled to house Behavioral Health, Long-Term Waiver Program and Comprehensive Community Services.

“The former Woodcrafter's Building currently consists of 8,160 square foot laid out for the production of wood furniture and related items. We propose to redesign the interior of this building to accommodate 25 - 30 staff and at least one large and two small conference rooms. The building infrastructure (restrooms, air conditioning heating systems, water and sewer systems, etc.) may also have to be redesigned to accommodate the expected number of staff and patients/clients that will be using it on a daily basis,” the newsletter stated. “Each office will need to be sound proof designed to accommodate the privacy needs of the patient's, clientele and staff that will utilize them. The building will also need to have adequate security and fire alarm systems installed or activated. The total construction costs to accomplish this are estimated to be $1,449,741.00.”

Tweed Shuman said the Woodcrafter’s remodel is expected to be completed in December of this year.

The other project is the expansion of the current health care facility located next to the LCO Tribal Office on Trepania Road. The expansion includes adding two dental operatories to accommodate expanded dental services, including pediatric dental services and an additional dental hygienist.

“The renovation of the existing layout of the health center will also allow us to provide office space for additional health services, including a chiropractor. We will also be increasing the main lobby area space and relocating the registration desks to the entrance way for the main clinic,” the newsletter stated. “This change is designed to provide better privacy for patients checking in for healthcare services. Current provider offices will be renovated into patient exam rooms. We will also be improving the outside entrance for convenience of our patients by adding a protective drive through canopy at the entrance to the Elder clinic so our Elders can exit a vehicle out of the extreme weather.”

The expansion will add an additional 2,120 square foot addition to the existing clinic. The estimated cost is $1,284,481.00.

Tweed Shuman said this part of the remodel is expected to be done in January, 2018.

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