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VOL. 130 | NO. 225 | Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Methodist Caps Busy 2015 With $40M Plans for Transplant Institute

By Andy Meek

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New money is pouring in to the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system, and it will be put to use as investments in everything from patient care to research. Construction work is under way at a number of facilities, and myriad future projects are in the works.

Dr. James Eason and a team perform a surgery at Methodist University Hospital. Eason is also director of the hospital’s transplant institute, which last week announced an anonymous $40 million donation.

(Photo courtesy of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare)

From those new programs to updates to its Memphis footprint to the recent announcement of an anonymous $40 million gift – the largest single donation in its nearly 100-year history – it’s clear that Methodist has in 2015 enjoyed one of its most productive years in recent memory.

When the health care system announced the $40 million gift a week ago, it said the money would be used to transform the current Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute, which is a partnership between Methodist and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The goal is to take it from a leading transplant program to a world-class facility that achieves a higher degree of excellence.

Dr. James Eason, UTHSC professor of surgery and director of the transplant institute, said the donation will be used for “groundbreaking research” that helps improve transplant patient outcomes. The gift also will go toward a new comprehensive transplant facility at Methodist University Hospital that provides state-of-the-art and accessible accommodations at all stages of the transplant process.

“This gift will further our vision of Memphis being a health care hub not only for the Southeast, but for the entire United States,” Eason said of the recent donation.

Because of its success with kidney, liver, kidney-pancreas and pancreas transplants, Methodist’s transplant institute ranks among the top 10 liver transplant programs and top 15 overall transplant programs by volume in the nation. The institute is known for its innovative steroid-free liver transplantation, and so far more than 6,000 procedures have been performed here.

Methodist says details about endowed chairs and master plans for the new transplant institute will be come as they’re finalized.

The rest of the Methodist system has been similarly buzzing with activity.

This month, Methodist saw the culmination of a $1.8 million construction project at Methodist North Hospital when it opened the doors to a newly expanded lobby. Amenities of the new 4,300-square-foot space include a new information and admissions desk; new, upgraded bathrooms; a gift shop and administrative offices.

The hospital’s outdoor space also has been updated with sustainable green space and a new pick-up and drop-off area to improve entryway traffic.

The lobby expansion is part of Methodist North’s plan to update and expand the entire campus. Past projects included renovating four floors of patient rooms and nurses stations, plus an emergency department expansion and radiology department update.

The new lobby, said Methodist North CEO Gyasi Chisley, allows the hospital more space to accommodate patients and families.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare also is working on its Union Avenue facilities. On Nov. 2, Turner Construction filed a $456,654 permit for phase two of repairs, including the removal of bricks on the west side of the 1265 Union Ave. building to be replaced with stucco.

At the same time, Belz Construction Services LLC filed a permit for $34,106 in tenant improvements for the Methodist Human Resources facility at 1211 Union Ave.

West Cancer Center, which has a partnership with Methodist Healthcare and UTHSC, it cut the ribbon Tuesday, Nov. 17, on a 123,251-square-foot space dedicated to oncology care and research at 7945 Wolf River Blvd.

The new space has more than 90 patient exam rooms. A few months ago, relatives of West Clinic founder Dr. William West also committed a multimillion-dollar gift to the University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research, the West Cancer Center’s fundraising arm.

West Cancer Center executive director Dr. Lee Schwartzberg told The Daily News the gift will, among other things, enhance the center’s ability to do translational research and to understand the causes and treatments of breast cancer.

Schwartzberg in recent days also chaired the organization’s first West Cancer Center Oncology Conference at the FedEx Institute of Technology. It was a two-day event that welcomed internationally renowned cancer experts and featured speakers from the country’s leading cancer institutions.

West Cancer Center treated 33,099 patients last year, a 24 percent increase in the total of new cancer cases year-over-year. Patients came from 33 states, including 46 counties in Tennessee, 52 counties in Mississippi, and 46 counties in Arkansas.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 6 6 196
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173
BANKRUPTCIES 42 42 795
BUSINESS LICENSES 2 2 331
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0