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VOL. 127 | NO. 242 | Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MED Rehabs Downtown Campus

By MICHAEL WADDELL

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The Regional Medical Center at Memphis is in the midst of extensive rehabbing of its Downtown campus at 877 Jefferson Ave., providing a much-needed face-lift for many of its dilapidated buildings.

“We are on a mission to upgrade our facilities and elevate the Regional Medical Center to a hospital of choice, not only for handling emergencies and trauma, but also for dealing with more routine, planned activity,” said Rick Wagers, chief financial officer of The MED, which sees 16,000 inpatient visits, 50,000 emergency room visits and 130,000 outpatient visits each year. “What we would like to do is replace the vast majority of our campus over a five- to 10-year period in order to make it more patient- and family-friendly.”

The many capital improvement projects already completed in the past 24 months at The MED’s Downtown campus include streetscape improvements, parking lot additions and improvements, renovation of the emergency department and waiting area, upgrades to security, new internal and external signage, and conversion of all double bedrooms to single bedrooms. It also includes replacement of CT scanners that report inpatient activity and install of a third CT scanner for outpatient activity, renovation and installation of robotics in the inpatient pharmacy, upgrades to the trauma treatment rooms, new roofing, the rebuilding of boilers and chillers, and the addition of a new Starbucks coffee kiosk.

A main priority this year has been the completion and opening of a new, safer patient drop-off/pick-up area and main entrance to the hospital.

“This medical center really never had a main entrance and/or a drop-off and pick-up area, it just happened out in Jefferson Street, sometimes closing down a lane of traffic,” said Wagers.

Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC handled the construction on the $1 million project, which involved converting and covering a parking lot off of Jefferson. Work finished in late summer and the new area opened in September. The project falls within The MED’s capital budget of $18 million for fiscal year 2013.

Next year The MED will add new services for its patients thanks to a new vascular clinic in

The MED outpatient center. The $4.2 million project that includes renovation work and upgraded equipment will be complete early next year. Montgomery Martin Contractors is again doing the work.

“We are also putting in a new bi-plane invasive radiology suite adjacent to the vascular institute,” Wagers said.

That $2.1 million project will include replacing and upgrading outdated single-plane technology.

In July, another $32.4 million for capital improvements was approved by The MED board for the expansion of the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center and the Turner Tower Complex.

Facility improvements are under way to the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center, including the renovation of its outdated Critical Care Assessment area. Square footage is being added, modernizing and increasing the amount of assessment space. Renovation work is scheduled to be completed this month.

The Turner Tower project will include the expansion and refurbishing of the Firefighters Regional Burn Center and the buildout of three vacant floors to relocate the inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital, a new Outpatient Ambulatory Surgery suite and new acute care patient rooms. The project includes more than 88,000 square feet and will be completed in stages, with an estimated completion date in December of next year.

“Our current rehab unit is in the Adams Building, an old facility that was built in the 1940s that is slated to be demolished in the future to make room for our new campus development,” Wagers said. “But to do that, we have to remove all of the activities that are currently in the Adams Building.”

To help accomplish that, The MED has acquired a new 3.5-acre parcel for $3.2 million across the street at Pauline Street and Jefferson, and it plans to move the rehab unit, administrative offices and patient billing offices to the three buildings located on the new site.

“We are looking at the Adams Building site as possible future site for a new women’s and infants’ hospital,” said Wagers, who hopes to have the new facility open in the next five years.

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