West Virginia University Hospitals announced a major expansion of WVU Medicine Children’s on Thursday to accommodate the growing number of patients.
A new 10-story tower will be constructed adjacent to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital. The $152 million state-of-the-art facility will also be connected to the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute.
“If a family or a child needs to use our children’s hospital, a lot of times times life has thrown them a curve ball,” said West Virginia University Health System President and CEO Albert Wright. “When they walk into that lobby it’s, I want to see their faces breathing a sigh of relief that I am in the right place and if I’m going to get healthy or my child healthy I want this to be that place.”
This expansion will add 150 new beds to the hospital in areas such as the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, pediatric acute care unit and an obstetrical unit.
“We deliver really excellent care in our neonatal ICU, but we don’t currently have a private space for each parent,” said Dr. Philip Saul, Executive Vice President of WVU Medicine Children’s. “If you’re a parent with a sick child who’s come from three hours away and had to leave home it’s nice to have a private space.”
The new facility will also allow for women and children to stay close to home for treatment.
“That’s a beautiful thing,” said Natalie Jefferis who is a member of the Children’s Leadership Council and also a former patient of WVU Medicine Children’s. “It really allow the nucleus of the family to stay intact as much as they can during what is an extremely stressful times in their lives.”
A campaign will be launched to raise $60 million, and WVU Hospitals will finance the remainder of the project.
Construction is subject to a certificate of need from the West Virginia health care authority.
“What I found is that the people in West Virginia want to support West Virginia,” Dr. Saul added. “I think we’re going to get a rousing level of support for this new hospital. It’s a great fulfillment of a dream and it will really mean something to all West Virginians as well as those in this local area.”
WVU Medicine Children’s sees 277,000 visits per year and this new tower will help better care for those patients as well as patients from 43 states and Washington D.C. that travel to Morgantown for care.
“I hope this whole thing is symbolic of the turnaround in the perception of the state and the ability for us to be competitive on the national scale,” said WVU President Gordon Gee. “I think I think this hospital represents so much more than healthcare. It represents hope and determination.”
In addition to attracting patients, this will also allow WVU Hospitals to attract more physicians. The healthcare provider has added 220 new doctors in the last 18 months.
“We’ve already got great doctors here, but as we attract more and more physicians, as we recruit doctors, great pediatricians want to work in a truly sub specialized children’s hospital and we’re gonna have that here,” Wright added.
The tower will take three years to complete and WVU Medicine Children’s anticipates treating the first patients in the late fall/early winter of 2020.
“We care about each individual patient and family and they’ll feel that,” said Dr. Saul. “”The golden rule of pediatrics is would you do this to your own child? If not you shouldn’t be doing it. We’re gonna make sure we follow that guideline.”