Douglas Dispatch | Aaliyah Montoya | October 5, 2015

Three years in the making, the Copper Queen Douglas Medical Complex held its grand-opening ceremony on Oct. 1, followed by a community fun day on Oct. 2.

The new complex is an extension of the Copper Queen Medical Associates clinic located at 100 W. Fifth Street, under the wing of Copper Queen Community Hospital (CQCH) in Bisbee. New additions include Douglas Quick Care which provides acute, subacute and non-emergency  day-to-day care seven days a week. Along with that, is a new Physical Therapy module, which was donated by the Tucson Medical Center.

“We didn’t want to cause the demise of the hospital which was so near and dear to everyone, yet we wanted to be ready in case this happened…and it did,” said Jim Dickson, CEO, CQCH during opening remarks at the ceremony.

Following the closure of Cochise Regional Hospital (CRH), Douglas Quick Care opened on Aug. 3 and has since treated over 400 people, says Dickson, and over 20 former CRH employees have joined the Quick Care staff.

Despite the complex’s grand-opening, the facility’s lot has yet to be completed. Dickson announced Copper Queen’s plans to build a $6.5 million free-standing Emergency Department, which will break ground on Nov. 12.

Although Douglas will remain without a traditional hospital for the time being, Dickson says that inpatient care is something that rural communities can’t quite sustain. Those who require long-term observation and care will be admitted to hospitals in Sierra Vista, Tucson etc…

“We’ve been taking care of Douglas now, solely, for six weeks and in that time we have had not many admissions,” Dickson said.  “We have seen a minimal disruption in healthcare.”

“By the time we’re done, Douglas will have one of the most modern up-to-date health care delivery systems available,” said Dickson. “We’ve started recruiting specialists like an Endocrinologist, and Orthopedic Surgeon from TMC. That’s the strength of putting our two communities together and getting a larger market to bring people into the area.”

During the ceremony, Sarah Pacheco, a representative of Congresswoman Martha McSally, awarded Copper Queen Community Hospital Medical Complex with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition of the expansion of exemplary medical services to the Douglas community.

“The Congresswoman paid a visit to the Copper Queen Hospital in Bisbee back in July, and she was so impressed with the quality of care offered there,” Pacheco said. “She was very impressed with the forward-thinking proactive approach to medical care that was offered.”

CQCH Board of Directors President, John Harris, says that in his 20 year with the board there have been many discussions on how Douglas and Bisbee can be partnered.

“We knew that both of our communities were weak by themselves, together we can be very strong,” said Harris. “This is the first time we really had an opportunity to join Douglas and do something with Douglas that can help both communities. Douglas is going to be far stronger and medical care will be far more available.”

Richard Beach, Senior Associate with DLR Group, Architect of the Douglas Medical Complex says that Douglas now has the best that there is to offer.

“I think for rural America this definitely cutting edge,” Beach said. “We have been able to incorporate top notch imaging and followed the best practices for examining design. I think it is going a long ways to meeting the needs of the community.”

“We’re not here just for Douglas, we do serve the surrounding communities like A.P., Elfrida, Mcneal, Portal, and Rodeo,” said Heidi Lodge, Chief Medical Officer at Douglas Medical Complex. “We want to be here for all of those communities. Our goal is to provide high-quality medical care and that really starts with our traditional clinic that has been here all along.”

Quick Care will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with no appointments necessary. Services include laboratory and diagnositic imaging, including ultrasound, onsite surgery, physical therapy, telemedicine; cardiology, concussions, and pulmonology.

“Thank you Mr. Dickson and the Copper Queen Board for believing in Douglas,” Mayor Danny Ortega said. “[Thank you] for investing in Douglas, and caring about the health of our community.”

Before the ribbon cutting, Ortega also announces CQCH’s donation of $40,000 worth of exercise equipment that will soon be installed on the walking track of Airport Park.

For more information about the Douglas Medical Complex, call (520) 805-6800.

Hundreds attend Saturday event

Hundreds of local residents showed up Saturday for the public grand opening of the Copper Queen Medical Complex.

There were jumping castles for the kids, face painting, Tucson Medical Center showed up and gave out free bicycle helmets and booster seats for the kids. There was also free popcorn and snow cones.

The Douglas Fire Department was also on hand as well as Lifeline helicopter services talking about what services their agencies can provide and the Douglas High School marching band entertained the crowd with numerous tunes.

Tours of the new facility were also given.

Many Douglas residents remarked how nice the facility is and how happy and grateful they are to Jim Dickson and his staff for showing such an interest in keeping Douglas with some kind of healthcare facility.

Douglas Dispatch managing editor Bruce Whetten contributed to this story