Yuma Regional Medical Center has embarked on an ambitious expansion program that is transforming the hospital.
With 10 different projects, five taking place this summer beginning in July, construction activity might confuse patients and visitors.
However, when the projects are completed in 2016, the hospital is expected to have the capacity and capabilities to meet the region's health care needs well into the future.
With some 75,000 patients a year, YRMC is the third busiest hospital in the state. “But we're not the third biggest,” Pat Walz, YRMC president and CEO, explained to members of the media at a Thursday luncheon.
Over a five-year period, YRMC will invest more than $150 million in capital improvements.
“It will be something fantastic and it will take us to our 20-, 30-year vision,” said Walz.
It started out with a plan to expand the emergency department (ED) and it “blew up” to several projects needed to “make way” for the new ED, Walz said.
Machele Headington, vice president of marketing and communications, likened the projects to dominoes, with one piece affecting the next.
The new emergency department will have 58,500 square feet, including new adjacent radiological services, with the bed capacity jumping from 37 to 72.
It will have a rooftop helipad for two helicopters and the capacity to build three more stories on top of the first floor.
Once the old East Building is demolished in January 2014, work will begin on the new ED that will accommodate more than 100,000 patients a year.
In the meantime, renovations to the existing 15,000-square-foot ED have added a 2,200-square-foot fast-track area with three treatment bays and an exam room, to expedite treatment for less serious emergencies.
This addition eases overcrowding in the current ED until the new one opens in October 2016 in a more accessible, central location where the old East Building now stands. The old East Building is scheduled for demolition in January.
YRMC has purchased the old Target building about a mile from the hospital for use as a storage facility. Completed in May, the building houses equipment and supplies that had been previously stored in former shelled space in the tower, making way for new patient care areas. The previous materials management building will be demolished to build the support services building.
The support services building will serve as the new location for many of the support services currently in the old East Building, including office space and conference rooms.
This step takes support services out of the more costly hospital-build environment while keeping the services nearby. It is slated for completion in early 2014.
Dialysis has relocated from the old East Building to the second floor of the west tower. Completed in April, the five-bed suite is now on the second floor of the west tower.
Renovations to the women and children's wing will also mean the relocation of patients and support services, including prenatal and the snack bar, currently in the East Building. This construction is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013.
A west end parking garage is expected to improve campus traffic flow. With 390 spaces on three levels, the garage will add spaces but not that many more, noted Headington.
The biggest benefits will be “flat, easy access right to the front door of the hospital,” she said.
The top floor will be level with, and adjacent to, the main hospital, which will eliminate the challenges associated with the current slope and layout of the parking area. This project is slated for completion in early 2014
During construction, Lot G will be reserved for patient and visitor parking. Parking attendants will be located on the 24th Street and Avenue A entrances and at the emergency department.
The number of volunteer cart drivers will be increased and the hours of operations for the carts will be expanded. Navigators/way-finding volunteers will also be on hand.
Employees will be shuttled in and out and will be able to take the YCAT buses to and from campus for free.
Where the money comes from
YRMC has been setting funds aside every year for capital improvements, such as building new facilities, improving or maintaining existing facilities and acquiring land or costly new medical technology.
These funds – plus municipal bonds – are financing the current building project. This capital budget is separate and distinct from YRMC's operating budget, which funds the day-to-day expenses of running a hospital, including salaries.
For construction updates, parking guide maps and more information, visit www.yumaregional.org/improvementprojects.