Health Care

Pediatric Center to open soon

Wesley Medical Center and the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita announced a partnership Wednesday that will bring together a number of pediatric specialty services in one location.

The Pediatric Center of Kansas is expected to open by the end of October in the Medical Arts Tower building next to Wesley. It will house pediatric specialists in areas including oncology, nephrology, cardiology and genetic counseling.

Many of the specialists already are on the staff at the medical school or at Wesley; others will move their practices to the center or will be recruited to join it.

The center is an expansion of the partnership that Wesley and the medical school have through their pediatrics residency program at Carriage Parkway.

It also is another step in Wesley's efforts to brand itself as a regional pediatrics center. Earlier this year, Wesley announced it had been accepted for membership in the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions.

The Pediatric Center of Kansas will occupy about 14,000 square feet of space on the fifth floor of the Medical Arts Tower. It is expected to be ready for occupancy by Oct. 25, said Steve Edgar, Wesley's chief operating officer.

The center will serve families in the southern two-thirds of the state, according to H. David Wilson, dean of the medical school.

Families in need of specialized medical care for their children currently must go to multiple locations to get it, said Barry Bloom, a neonatologist and chairman of the medical school's pediatrics department.

The central location will be more convenient and will create efficiencies by avoiding duplicative testing and lab work, he said.

It also will have an economic impact for the city, Wilson said, as people from other parts of the state travel to Wichita for care.

Hugh Tappan, Wesley's president and CEO, said the center also will help Wichita recruit other specialty physicians.

Wesley and the medical school are investing more than $1 million in the center.

The medical school is using money from the Kansas Bioscience Authority to help set up databases for medical research.

Wesley is spending about $200,000 for electronic health records and about $750,000 for infrastructure and remodeling at the Medical Arts Tower and Carriage Parkway. High Plains Construction is the contractor for the Medical Arts Tower work; Key Construction is the contractor for the Carriage Parkway work.

Bloom said a dozen staff members have been added to the medical school's pediatrics department in the past 24 months: six general pediatricians, four specialists and two midlevel practitioners.