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Archive for Thursday, October 19, 2006

LMH expansion could get boost from grant

Hospital also asking for community donations to help fund $50 million project

October 19, 2006

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Lawrence Memorial Hospital is in the running for a $1 million national health care grant that could help fund a nearly $50 million expansion of the hospital.

But Kathy Clausing, the hospital's chief development officer, said Wednesday that community support is still needed to help the hospital complete an $8 million fundraising drive for the expansion, which will include a new emergency room, surgery suites, private patient rooms, an improved intensive care unit and an addition to the maternity ward.

"There is still a huge need for the community to help us," Clausing said.

Hospital leaders said they couldn't reveal the name of the organization from which the hospital seeks the grant, but said they were cautiously optimistic because the organization likes to fund smaller hospitals implementing progressive programs.

"They are looking for hospitals that have demonstrated community leadership, and that is what we try to do," said Gene Meyer, LMH president and chief executive officer.

The grant requires matching funds be raised apart from what has already been contributed for the expansion campaign.

Clausing said she expects to receive word about the grant in December.

She said the expansion campaign, thus far, has raised $6.24 million. It is in the beginning stages of its community phase where about 800 Lawrence citizens will receive telephone calls from community volunteers seeking donations. Clausing estimated about one-third of the calls have been made, and that the campaign will stretch into the new year.

First phase of the construction began this week when work on the new private rooms got under way. The entire project, designed in part to help LMH better compete with growing Kansas City hospitals, is expected to take about three years to complete.

In other LMH news, the hospital's board of directors Wednesday told staff members to finalize an agreement to partner with Lawrence-based Radiologic Professional Services to build a new 4,200-square-foot imaging center that would house a new high-tech piece of equipment used for detecting certain types of cancerous tumors.

Hospital leaders announced the idea last month, but were still waiting for important details before moving forward. On Wednesday, the board was told the new facility was expected to cost $1.88 million, with LMH and the radiology group splitting the costs equally. A site for the location hasn't been selected, though the two groups are looking both in east and west Lawrence, said Karen Shumate, vice president of clinical services for the hospital.

The new center will house a PET CT scanner, which is becoming a popular method to scan for various types of cancerous tumors. Currently, the hospital has use of only a mobile PET CT scanner that comes to the community one day per week. The new center would cut down on the time that some patients have to wait to receive test results determining whether a growth is cancerous.

The new center likely would open in 2008.

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