Despite the pandemic, expansion continues for USA Health

Posted on December 6, 2021 by Gary Mans
Gary Mans

Board members holding shovels for ground breaking. data-lightbox='featured'

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered so many things in people’s lives. Additionally, it has caused significant disruptions for a large number of businesses. Fortunately, it has not slowed USA Health’s effort to increase access to the region’s only academic healthcare system.

As the region’s only Level 1 trauma center, University Hospital and its specialized team of care providers stands ready for any type of emergency. In the fall of 2021, USA Health completed the renovation of the 11th floor of the hospital, reducing the amount of diversion time for the facility.

“This floor will help lead the way as we continue to grow as a healthcare system,” said Alan Whaley, Ph.D., USA Health chief operating officer. “We are a trauma center, we are a highest-level stroke center, we are a burn center, and we just recently opened the Fanny Meisler Trauma Center. We cannot realize our potential in any of those areas without the capacity to support the efforts,” said Michael Chang, M.D., USA Health chief medical officer.

“This floor will allow us to diminish our diversion time in a way that will allow us to take care of those patients who come to us as the only academic healthcare system in the region.”

It took nearly a year to transform the previous storage area into 34 new, modern patient care rooms designed for both medical and surgical patients. The additional beds bring University Hospital up to nearly 220 beds in service.

The 10th floor of the hospital is being renovated from office space to clinical areas to build more capacity. That project is scheduled to be completed in mid-2022.

USA Health’s commitment to enhancing access to care also includes the pediatric patient population. Earlier this fall, it broke ground on a renovated and expanded pediatric emergency center at Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

“This will create the first true pediatric emergency center at the hospital,” said Edward Panacek, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “The center will combine state-of-the-art technology with the advanced practice associated with an academic healthcare center to improve the care provided to everyone who comes through our doors.”

Scheduled for completion in summer 2023, the new facility will more than double the current emergency department from 9,000 square feet to nearly 19,000 square feet and expand from 14 treatment areas to more than 30 areas, including 25 private treatment rooms. The project also will create two behavioral health rooms and a sensory room to enhance the care for patients with specialized needs.

Further, the space will provide enough room for parents and caregivers to be with their children to enhance the experience for young patients and their loved ones.

The Pediatric Emergency Center at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital is the only healthcare facility in the region offering specialized care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and staffed with pediatric emergency medicine physicians to best meet the needs of sick and injured children.

The expansion will strengthen the educational and training opportunities of future healthcare providers including emergency medicine residents, medical students, nurses and nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other allied health professionals. The new space will enable the installation of the most advanced equipment that care providers will be using not only now, but for generations to come.

“Not only has the demand for our services grown with the population of the region, but the space requirements associated with the delivery of the high quality of care we are known for makes this expansion even more important,” said Chris Jett, administrator for Children’s & Women’s Hospital. “We will have the most up-to-date equipment that matches the high-quality team that delivers the care.”

“For many, our pediatric emergency center is the gateway to resolving their child’s medical issue,” said Owen Bailey, M.H.A., FACHE, chief executive officer of USA Health. “This project is another example of our recent efforts to increase access to the unmatched services we provide. We are excited about having the opportunity to continue meeting the healthcare needs of the children in the Upper Gulf Coast region and hopefully provide some additional peace of mind to families in the area.”

Reaching across Mobile Bay to further meet the growing healthcare needs of the region, USA Health broke ground on the Mapp Family Campus in Baldwin County. Located at the southeast corner of state highways 181 and 104 in Fairhope, the campus will be home to an ambulatory surgery center and a physician office building.

“Collaborating with community physicians, providers from USA Health will bring their specialized expertise to meet the healthcare needs of the people in the region,” Bailey said. “As the only academic healthcare system in the region, USA Health continues to expand relationships with community providers and other partners, as we strive to provide increased access to the care that people need and deserve.”

Approximately 50 percent of the population of Baldwin County lives within 15 miles of the Mapp Family Campus.

The campus will be home to a three-story, 50,000-square-foot physician office building, staffed with primary and specialty care providers to better meet the healthcare needs of the people in the region. Specialties will include neurology, cardiology and surgical specialties, pediatric and adult gastroenterology and urology. The building also will house a full array of imaging technology, including X-ray, ultrasound, mammography, CT and MRI.

USA Health physicians and other providers will incorporate health and wellness strategies for their patients along with traditional medicine. A demonstration kitchen and community room will be included in the facility. Caregivers and coaches will provide opportunities to engage patients in movement, relaxation and healthy-eating classes, with the goal of helping people lead longer, better lives.

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