MU Women's and Children's Hospital set to open in September

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | 8:29 p.m. CDT; updated 10:14 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 8, 2010

**CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated how much MU Health Care receives in philanthropy each year.

COLUMBIA — The MU Children’s Hospital is on target to move into space at Columbia Regional Hospital by Sept. 14.

The facility, which will be renamed the University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital, costs $12 million. When complete, it will occupy 58,600 square feet — or more than half — of the building.

Funding has come from a combination of bond financing, cash flow from hospital operations and philanthropy*, said Laura Gajda, executive director for advancement at MU Health Care.

Fundraising efforts included the Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon, private donations and money from supporters who bought naming rights to rooms in the new building.

The Children’s Hospital is currently on the sixth and seventh floors of University Hospital. In September, it will occupy space vacated by the orthopaedic surgery and general internal medicine units in Columbia Regional.

Construction is converting the first, second, fourth and fifth floors into a full women's and children's facility with adolescent and pediatric inpatient rooms, an intensive care unit, birthing center, operating rooms and a neonatal intensive care unit.

Most of the work, which began June 2009, has been completed, said Tim Fete, medical director of the Children's Hospital.

Still unfinished are the pediatric intensive care unit, the pediatric short stay/blood disorder unit, the pediatric cardiology unit and the Children’s Hospital entrance.

Fifteen new faculty members have already been added to the hospital’s staff with plans to recruit 10 more, Fete said.

The move will mark the completion of Phase I of the hospital’s plan to create a child- and family-safe environment with increased services, access and recognition.

Safety was a main concern in planning the new space, Fete said. Private patient rooms for all children and adolescents create a safer environment, he said.

“There’s a lot of evidence that private rooms are safer and that you have a higher quality of care with less risk of medical error,” Fete said.

“We’re very proud of our internal infection rate, but there’s still an increased risk with more than one patient in a room, so we expect a further decrease from where it is now.”

The patient rooms are designed with the family’s comfort in mind, Gajda said. The rooms will be equipped with sleeper sofas for parents, as well as a toilet and shower in most rooms.

“We wanted to go to a private patient room model because it’s just more convenient, more comfortable and for infection control,” she said. “And kids have a lot of visitors; more visitors than anyone else.”

Fete said he also hopes that the new location will provide easier access to the hospital for both Columbia residents and patients from out of town.

“We’re a children’s hospital that attracts patients from nearly every county in Missouri,” said Matt Splett, media coordinator for MU Health Care. “This location, being at the intersection of I-70 and Highway 63, is going to be very beneficial. They basically exit off one of those major highways and they’re going to be right there.”

The Children’s Hospital’s move created the opportunity for several other medical facilities to relocate as well:

  • MU Urgent Care Center plans to make the move to Keene Street, just south of the MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital. A pediatrician will be available in the evenings and on weekends.
  • Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders plans to relocate to 205 Portland St.
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Services plans to occupy a portion of the Thompson Center’s old building at 300 Portland St. It will provide pediatric physical rehabilitation services.
  • The MU Pediatric Cardiology Unit is expected to open in Columbia Regional Hospital ahead of the rest of the Phase I renovations. Even though work remains, hospital staff are still planning for an opening in August.
  • The University Physician’s East Eye Institute and ENT and Allergy Center will remain in their current locations near the hospital. Both facilities offer pediatric care.

By the end of Phase II, the only pediatric services to remain on  the main campus are pediatric psychiatry and emergency stabilization in the trauma and burn units.

Phase II of the Children’s Hospital’s plan includes renovating the first floor of the South Pavilion into additional faculty offices and turning the ancillary services on the first floor of the Health Pavilion into a pediatric clinic.

Phase II is expected to cost an additional $12 million.


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