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MU Health Care shares vision of Children's Hospital

Friday, June 19, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 10:32 a.m. CDT, Friday, June 19, 2009

COLUMBIA — If all goes as planned, at this time next year residents in Columbia will be able to point at the building at 404 Keene Street and say, "That's Columbia's Children's Hospital."

More details of the plan to consolidate the Children’s Hospital and all pediatric services into one building at Columbia Regional Hospital were revealed this morning at a breakfast in the hospital's conference center. The first phase of this consolidation will cost MU Health Care $12 million.

The plan will expand children's health care services in Columbia. With the expansion, an increase in faculty of 25 to 35 percent is expected in the next two years, said Timothy Fete, medical director of Children’s Hospital.

“It’s not just a consolidation onto one site, but also a significant expansion of the services we have,”  Fete said.

The size of Children’s Hospital, which currently comprises the sixth and seventh floors of University Hospital, will nearly double — from 26,220 to an estimated 48,000 square feet.

As part of the first phase of the consolidation, construction on the fifth floor of Columbia Regional Hospital began more than two weeks ago and should be completed by July 2010.

The second phase of the plan, costing an additional estimated $12 million to $13 million, will transfer more than 30 sub-specialty pediatric services and outpatient clinics, as well as all pediatric faculty offices to Columbia Regional Hospital. The estimated date for completion is January 2011.

Along with these changes, Columbia Regional Hospital will get a new name. With a $25 million gift, the donor's name will be included in the title of the hospital. Barring any big single donor, the hospital could be called Women's and Children's Hospital, Fete said.

But there are other donation and naming opportunities of the future hospital's various units, programs and rooms.

All patient rooms will accommodate only one patient, and include a sofa bed for family members staying the night with children. Most patient rooms will include a bathroom and shower.

“We also hope to have several fun interactive displays, like computerized videos for kids and their families that are both appropriately entertaining and educational,” Fete said.

Columbia Regional Hospital's décor will also receive a makeover with more calming, greener and cooler colors, along with a possible jungle theme, said Laura Gajda, executive director for advancement at MU Health Care.

“The services we provide now are great, but we’d love to have an environment that kids and their families will enjoy,” Fete said.


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