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March 24, 2015

Medical Center Operating Board endorses Emergency Department expansion, move toward private patient rooms

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The Medical Center Operating Board endorsed Tuesday a plan to renovate and expand the Emergency Department and create procedural rooms, which include expanded recovery space. In addition, a proposed bed tower will enable the Medical Center to convert most of its semi-private rooms into private rooms.

“Because many of our patients initially enter the Health System through the Emergency Department, we want to create the best possible environment to receive care and, for our team members, to provide high-quality care,” said Pamela M. Sutton-Wallace, the Medical Center’s CEO. “We believe this project will create a real community asset.”

In fiscal year 2014, there were more than 58,000 visits to the UVA Emergency Department. The demand for care often exceeded the department’s 43-bed capacity.  The planned Emergency Department expansion will include up to 80 beds with:

Dedicated space for mental health services. Additional space for a clinical decision-making unit to assess whether patients should be admitted, observed or discharged. Additional space for pediatric and trauma patients.

Projected to cost $322 million to $394 million, the project will include:

Renovation of the existing Emergency Department and expansion of the department on the site of the former ground helipad. Renovation and expansion of the procedural and recovery space one floor above the Emergency Department. This will help enable UVA team members to care for patients more efficiently and effectively by creating additional space and consolidating the interventional services on a single floor. Construction of six stories on top of the procedural floor with three floors used to create private patient rooms and the remaining three floors as shell space reserved for future Health System needs.

The new procedural rooms and recovery space will better accommodate and speed access to care for patients who come to UVA for surgeries or other procedures, while the conversion to private patient rooms will enable the Medical Center to accept more patients transferred from other hospitals.

“Making most of our inpatient rooms private will facilitate an improved patient experience with greater privacy and comfort,” Sutton-Wallace said. “The private room model will also enable us to care for more patients. On any given day, an average of more than 30 beds in semi-private rooms are closed due to patient safety needs.”

The full Board of Visitors will consider the plan this week. Pending approval from the Board of Visitors and the state, the Emergency Department and interventional areas are projected for completion in summer 2019; the bed tower is estimated to be finished in December 2019. 

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