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Wellness on the Water

Published on 6/18/2009
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New MCMC facility at the edge of the Columbia River is a positive sign of the changing tide in healthcare.

If there is a little more dust in the wind down at Lone Pine Village these days, that's just a sign of an exciting new MCMC development getting off the ground. The earth moving has begun on Water's Edge, a state-of-the-art health and wellness center the hospital is building on the banks of the Columbia River in partnership with Lone Pine Village and Integrity Structures, a Seattle contracting company whose CEO, Gabe Duus, is a native of The Dalles.

Water's Edge will be the new home for an array of existing MCMC programs and a new venture into medical fitness, as well as an array of other tenants. Programs that will relocate to Water's Edge will include the hospital's sleep center and its growing physical rehabilitation department. Now located in two sites, on the hospital campus and on Fourth Street in downtown The Dalles, MCMC's physical, occupational and speech therapy services will be combined to expand and enhance the care of patients rehabilitating from a range of conditions, from sports injuries to hip replacements.

The major tenant of the building will be the new Water's Edge Health and Wellness Center, where existing hospital programs and innovative new ones will merge to offer a comprehensive new approach to mind-body health promotion.

Water's Edge Health and Wellness Center will not be a fitness center in the traditional sense.  Instead, a physician-directed staff will follow a medical-fitness model that focuses on improving the overall well being of participants, whether they are recuperating hospital patients, people at risk of disease or individuals interested in health maintenance programs.

The center's multidisciplinary staff will include certified fitness specialists, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, dietitians, health educators and others.  They will use traditional fitness principles, techniques and equipment along with the popular integrated therapies employed at MCMC over the past several years (such as yoga, massage therapy and t'ai chi) with the goal of helping participants continually improve the quality of their lives.

Water's Edge also will house MCMC's cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, medical symptom reduction and living healthy with diabetes programs, all of which will be integrated into the health and wellness offerings.

Other tenants of Water's Edge will include two internal medicine providers currently practicing in The Dalles.  They will eventually be joined by two more internal medicine specialists, helping MCMC in its ongoing efforts to expand access to internal medicine care.

With its focus on health and wellness promotion, and its location away from the hospital campus in a vibrant new neighborhood, Water's Edge is a sign of the changing tide in healthcare, says MCMC President and CEO Duane Francis.
"The number of individuals who are participating in wellness programs grows exponentially each year, and that's a very positive sign that people are beginning to understand the benefits of health promotion versus disease management," Francis says.  "This is not a fad that is going to go away.

"Hospitals have traditionally been healthcare providers, but in recent years we at Mid-Columbia have focused more of our attention on the total well being of our patients and our entire community.  Water's Edge demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, the degree of our commitment to be this community's 'well-care' provider."  Water's Edge is expected to open Spring 2010.

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