Hansen Family Hospital will expand its wellness center and open it up to the public as a “medically oriented gym” in the hopes that it will help people get healthy, and introduce them to the facility as regular visitors and future patients, if and when they need care. The HFH WellNest, as it will be called, will add nearly $25,000 in new and replacement equipment after the purchase got approval from the hospital’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday afternoon. Scott Krueger, the hospital’s Director of Rehabilitation Services, outlined plans for the new program to Board members. Today, the hospital offers a small wellness center for a limited group of people who are charged $25 per month. It is open only until 1 p.m. each day. The expansion will extend hours of the wellness center and drop the price to $20 per month. Krueger predicted the change will help more people, and it’ll help the hospital. “A medically oriented gym is a wellness center that’s designed to treat people who don’t feel comfortable in a traditional wellness setting – medically compromised patients, patients that maybe are overweight, looking to lose weight but need a little direction,” he said. “Really, the idea is getting more people into the facility. We know that at $20 a month the business isn’t going to be a huge moneymaker for the hospital. There is some cash influx there, but the idea behind this is really just to get people to our facility. Hopefully at that point they’ll utilize the other services that we have here.” Before Hansen Family Hospital opened, Ellsworth Municipal Hospital included a wellness center that was open to the public. When the new hospital opened, the center’s availability was reduced to patients and those who were being treated in Rehabilitation Services. Board of Trustees President Steve Howard acknowledged the backlash the hospital took over that decision, and said he predicts people will be happy with this change