KU Hospital expanding to meet demand

? Kansas University Hospital leaders on Tuesday said patient growth is leading the hospital to add new space and new patient beds more quickly than previously planned.

The hospital’s board in July 2010 approved a three-and-a-half floor expansion for its Center for Advanced Heart Care, just east of the main hospital near 39th Street and Rainbow Boulevard in Kansas City, Kan. The original plan called for the opening of one 32-bed patient unit and constructing two new floors of shell space to be filled in later. A new plan now calls for adding 84 beds to the hospital on all three new floors.

On Tuesday, the hospital’s authority board heard an update that said the entire space would be filled in by this summer. A new 32-bed unit on the seventh floor will house heart patients and family medicine patients, while patients in the neurosciences program will be on the 32-bed acute care unit on the eighth floor, or on the 20-bed intensive care unit on the ninth floor of the building.

Jon Jackson, chief administrative officer, said that when the $56.7 million project is done, along with planned renovations to the main hospital, the hospital would apply to the state to expand the licensed limit of adult beds it can have in the hospital, increasing to 745 from 620.

Other improvements in the main hospital are ongoing as well, including a renovation for the kitchen, the addition of 19 new beds for pre- and post-surgical patients and six new operating rooms.

Tammy Peterman, chief operating officer for the hospital, said the hospital intends to hire 200 to 250 new employees to work in the new space.

A new helipad will also be added as part of the project, Jackson said. The helipad will accommodate larger helicopters, including the helicopter for the president of the United States. The hospital serves as the designated hospital for the president and vice president when they are in town, Jackson said.

Since 1998, Jackson said, the hospital has made $770.9 million worth of capital improvements and added 3,340 employees to its payroll.