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Improvements at 2 Via Christi hospitals include more private rooms

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, April 27, 2013, at 7:09 a.m.

To meet a goal of providing private rooms to all its patients, Via Christi hospitals on St. Francis and East Harry are in the midst of several capital improvement projects, putting the hospitals in a state of reorganization.

Via Christi has allocated $20 million per year for hospital improvements, most of it going toward the effort to move to all private rooms at the hospital on East Harry by early next year and at the hospital on St. Francis by mid-2016.

The work goes beyond just updating decor, said Art Huber, vice president of facilities for Via Christi Hospitals.

At St. Francis, the hospital plans to turn the entire southeast and southwest wings into inpatient private rooms.

It currently houses Select Speciality Hospital, a long-term acute-care facility that works with some of the sickest adult patients with respiratory issues or wounds.

Select, which currently has semi-private rooms, will have all private rooms under a new 10-year lease agreement with Via Christi. Over the next year, Select will move from its current location on the fifth and sixth floors on the southwest side of the campus to the sixth floor on the northeast side.

Huber said the move will allow Via Christi to turn Select’s current location into private rooms for its patients. The hospital currently has about 440 beds.

Earlier this week, the Da-Vita and Fresenius dialysis services moved from the sixth floor to the fifth floor of St. Francis. The groups have an operating agreement with Via Christi to provide dialysis services to patients, Huber said.

The new space used to be Via Christi’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before that was moved to the East Harry location several years ago.

In June, renal transplant services will move to a remodeled space on the second floor from the current location on the sixth floor. Although Via Christi’s kidney transplant program is currently suspended, renal transplant services provide pre- and post-operative care for those who need or have had transplants elsewhere, Huber said.

The hospital is also working on building a remodeling prototype on the seventh floor on the southwest side of the campus, Huber said, with a team working to create more efficiency in design that can be applied to other floors and units in the future.

They hope to have the prototype complete by next year and don’t yet know what unit will be housed on that floor once it’s completed, he said.

The hospital will also have its employee cafeteria and public eatery remodeled, Huber said.

At the hospital on East Harry, which has about 280 beds, the seventh floor will be remodeled into all private rooms.

To accommodate that move, the seventh-floor endoscopy unit will move to the first floor this fall and the Ambulatory Care Unit can move to the lower level, Huber said.

The cafeteria on the lower level will also be renovated by the end of the year.

An additional $2.5 million is being used to remodel the NewLife Center because Via Christi is moving all of its birth services from its west-side hospital on St. Teresa to the one on East Harry this summer. Huber said the remodeling will include new exam lights in the labor rooms and upgraded air and ventilation systems. Huber said they were not able to keep the unit as cool as they would have liked last summer.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com.

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