Arkansas Children’s Hospital is planning a $10 million project that would put to use space freed up by the $121 million expansion completed last year.
About 14,000 square feet in the old emergency department would be divided between an orthopedics clinic and an expansion of the radiology department, said Larry Beckius, vice president of facilities.
The orthopedic clinic would be added in the first, $5million phase, which has been approved by the hospital’s board. The clinic would encompass about 12,000 square feet and cost $250,000 to equip and furnish, spokesman Hilary DeMillo said.
Board approval for the radiology department expansion has not yet been granted, Beckius said Monday.
Construction on the orthopedics clinic is expected to start next July, with completion by December 2014, David Berry, senior vice president and chief operating officer, said Tuesday. Proposals for the second phase are expected to be presented to the board in the next few months, Berry said.
The South Wing, which opened in July 2012, encompasses 258,000 square feet at the 2 million-square-foot hospital. Aside from housing the emergency department, the wing is home to clinics for cancer and blood disorders, neurological problems, audiology, dentistry, and ear, nose and throat.
The South Wing expansion does not necessarily translate into a higher number of patients treated, Berry said.
Efficiency and effectiveness are the goals, he said.
The emergency department, which is on the first level of the four-story wing, has enabled the hospital “to cope with the busy seasons of the winter much better … fewer kids not being able to be seen quickly, less time in the waiting room.”
Berry said the feedback scores from parents have improved.
Use of clinics on the second floor are up, he said. In June 2012, the clinics saw 234 patients, compared with 276 in June this year. And in July 2012, the number was 237, compared with 266 a year later.
The improved facilities will help the hospital to recruit and retain physicians and other caregivers, Berry said.
The third floor is for infants and toddlers. It enabled the hospital to go “from some dingy and old space into private rooms,” Berry said. Berry said the children are getting more rest, are getting well quicker and the length of stay is shrinking, though he said he did not have figures available.
“Some of this is anecdotal, and some of it is a-ha moments,” he said.
The fourth floor comprises the hematology and oncology units for cancer patients, some of whom were in other units before the expansion because of lack of “elbow room,” Berry said.
“These spaces - to say that we build them, we expect to fill them up - actually, we build them and we hope that we do better at delivering care, and that families get better and go home, and we’re seeing some of that.”
For the next five years, hospital projects likely will address how to use space created by the expansion, Berry said.
Business, Pages 25 on 08/28/2013
Print Headline: Hospital plans $10 million project