Expansion brings jobs, more health-care options
As of last week, there were 150 job postings seeking staff members who will soon work the floors of Methodist Willowbrook Hospital's new 473,000-square-foot north pavilion on Centerfield Drive.
Methodist Willowbrook Hospital officials say the community's growing demands for hospital services, and the doctors that provide those services, is at the root of current and future expansion efforts.
Methodist Willowbrook's Chief Executive Officer Beryl Ramsey said the $244 million project is drawing to a close, and the new building will open to patients and the community in April.
We have been through two expansions before and within 48 hours of opening our new facilities after our 2004 expansion we were full," Ramsey said. We immediately started planning for this one."
The new seven-story building project, which is located directly northeast of the existing hospital, brings the hospital's patient bed count from 119 to 205. That number will climb to 241 in 2011, and to 349 in 2017, Ramsey said.
The number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds jumps from 12 to 32; the number of operating rooms from four to 10; the number of emergency department beds from 12 to 28; and the number of cardiac cath labs from two to four.
The hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will move from a Level 2 to a Level 3; and with nine new antepartum beds, women who face difficult pregnancies and require bed rest will be able to stay in the community rather than moving to the Texas Medical Center.
To manage the expansion in patients and patient services Methodist Willowbrook plans to hire an additional 400 full-time staff members by 2015, including the 150 current postings, Ramsey said. The number of staff physicians has risen from 521 to 581 in the past year.
This is not a typical community hospital," Ramsey said.
Methodist Willowbrook is a full-service hospital that offers general medical/surgical, and specialty services.
Methodist Willowbrook's expansion focuses on four of those many service areas cardiovascular care, neurological care, perinatal care, and pediatric care, Ramsey said.
The Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center is coming to Methodist Willowbrook, she said.
We are bringing open-heart surgery to the hospital," Ramsey said. We have expanded facilities and technology to support open heart surgery and our growing cardiovascular program."
She said Methodist Willowbrook was recently accredited as Primary Stroke Center," and received its first endowment, which will support the neurological program.
Time is important for stroke care and heart care," Ramsey said. We must have strong programs out in the community."
The new 9-bed antepartum unit, and Level 3 Neonatal ICU, which is in cooperation with Texas Children's Hospital, anchors the perinatal care program.
Maternity care is huge at our hospital," she said. We are adding a maternal-fetal physician expertise at the hospital for critical care issues."
The hospital has expanded facilities and services to meet the needs of the majority of pediatric patients requiring tertiary care the attention of specialists rather than referring the majority of those cases to the Medical Center.
Methodist Willowbrook also has a cancer center, breast center and birthing center.
As for the physical layout, the entrance to the north pavilion is located off Centerfield Drive, and the emergency room entrance will move to the north pavilion.
Ramsey said hospital officials are working to get the word out to emergency service agencies about the physical changes to the hospital that will affect where their ambulances take patients. There will be a tour and luncheon for those agencies in April.
There will be two bridges" connecting the existing hospital building, and the adjacent medical office building, to the north pavilion.
Andy Fisk, Methodist Willowbrook's director of facilities, said the new building was designed with input from bedside nurse and physicians. He said several designs were created, and the hospital staff selected the final design.
We also invested in electricity and air-conditioning technology designed to give us feedback so that we can manage our usage," Fisk said. We are working with waste management vendors so we can reduce amount we send to the landfill."
Additional parking spaces will be located around the north pavilion and on land owned by the hospital off Centerfield Boulevard, which is north of the existing hospital. Changes have been made to the two medical office buildings the hospital owns off Centerfield Drive; and renovations will be made to the existing hospital building.
In May, the existing hospital will undergo a renovation project and will be transformed into the Women & Children's Pavilion by 2010/11. That project will add the high-risk obstetrics program and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Ron Girotto, The Methodist Hospital System's president and chief executive officer said the expansion is a major investment in the northwest Harris County community.
We are bringing physicians from the Medical Center to establish programs equal to or greater than programs there," Girotto said. We are also dedicated to research and education, and will soon have residents here."
We will do what it takes to take care of patients in our hospital," he said.
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