EXPANDING SERVICES: Mike Hebbeler, a physical therapist at Carroll County Memorial Hospital, discusses plans to expand the physical therapy department using funds from North American Stainless and the Carroll County Fiscal Court. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
EXPANDING SERVICES: Mike Hebbeler, a physical therapist at Carroll County Memorial Hospital, discusses plans to expand the physical therapy department using funds from North American Stainless and the Carroll County Fiscal Court. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Carroll County Hospital officials will use donations received in 2013 to expand the hospital's physical therapy department.

The hospital's physical therapy unit received $100,000 in donations during the past year, Carroll County Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Michael Kozar said.

North American Stainless donated $50,000 in September, while the Carroll County Fiscal Court earmarked $50,000 of $100,000 donated to the hospital in December for physical therapy improvements.

Hospital officials already have used some of the money to purchase about 10 new pieces of equipment for the department, Kozar said. More equipment purchases are expected. The department has purchased treatment tables, ultrasound equipment, hot/cold packs and other therapy equipment.

Mike Hebbeler, physical therapist and manager of the physical therapy department, said the new equipment was the first large-scale purchase of equipment he's seen in the last 15 years. While most physical therapy equipment stays the same, he said, a few pieces had advanced over the years and other pieces needed to be replaced.

"The bulk of (the donations) will go to renovate that area," Kozar said. "We're literally running out of space."

The physical therapy unit treated more than 11,000 patients during 2013, a steady increase over previous years.

Hospital officials and physical therapy staff hope the renovation and expansion will make the space more efficient and more patient friendly.

Plans include the demolition of walls that separate the individual physical therapy rooms to provide a larger gymnasium-style area, Kozar said.

Hebbeler said the expanded space and open room will allow the three physical therapists to have better supervision of patients during exercises and therapy.

The hospital has begun the search for a contractor, and officials hope to have pricing options in three to four weeks.

The project fits well into the hospital's planned growth, Kozar said.

The hospital had an increase in patients in the past year, he said, including more visits to the radiology department and physician offices.

"The outlook of our organization has changed drastically in the last year," he said. "So far we've been fortunate to see growth in several areas."

The radiology department saw an increase of mammograms from 40 a month to 160 a month after the addition of a new digital mammography unit in October. Most of the radiology patients are new patients to the hospital, Kozar said.

One department with a decrease in patients for 2013 was the emergency room, something Kozar attributes to preventative measures at the physician offices.

"What we're doing in physical therapy fits into the overall plan," Kozar said. "This will certainly enhance what we will be able to do for the community."