KOKOMO, Ind.Howard Regional Health System has opened a new 28,000-square-foot emergency department. The 149-bed hospital, operated by Howard County, planned the space to better accommodate the `persistent use of the emergency room for primary care. Six of the new spaces 25 private rooms are part of a segregated fast-track area, which James Alender, the systems president and chief executive officer, says he expects will handle as many as half of the departments 26,000 annual visits. The $9.9 million project was financed with tax-exempt bonds. Subsequent phases of construction expected to cost another $12.5 million will add 29 private medical-surgical and OB/GYN rooms above the emergency room, with a helipad on the roof, and then a 16-bed intensive-care unit. Other features include an isolation room and a decontamination facility for bioterrorism and infectious-disease preparedness and an orthopedics room wired for telemedicine with Clarian Health Partners in Indianapolis. We believe its the finest ER in north-central Indiana, Alender said.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation extending the life of the states certificate-of-need law for another year. The law and the agency that administers it, the Health Facilities Planning Board, would have expired June 1. The renewing legislation calls for the board to immediately make changes that would favor applicants that have been denied permission to build in high-growth areas. The board is asked to update its bed inventories and calculate need projections based on longer-term population projections and giving more weight to data showing that patients are leaving the area around a proposed site to get services. The law also creates a 19-member task force charged with studying whether the CON rules actually contribute to the quality, accessibility and efficiency of healthcare and prevent unnecessary duplication of services and facilities. The task forcewhich will include healthcare administrators, organized labor, legislators, consumers and the state attorney generalis asked to propose reforms but also to consider the effect of eliminating CON. The short-lived lease on life is another in a series of last-minute reprieves for the controversial board, which is unpopular with legislators whose districts have been denied hospitals and is tainted by kickback schemes orchestrated by former member Stuart Levine, who stepped down in 2004 and has since pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.
OMAHA, Neb.Expansion projects totaling $190 million will get started this summer at two Omaha institutions owned by the nine-hospital Alegent Health system, which is sponsored by 55-hospital Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems. Alegent recently announced that $107.2 million worth of construction projects were planned for its 290-bed Bergan Mercy Medical Center, located in central Omaha. These include: a new womens and childrens hospital within a hospital with 16 labor and delivery beds and a new 36-bed post-partum unit; a new cancer center with an image recovery center to help patients who have experienced radiation, chemotherapy or appearance-altering surgery; a new outpatient diagnostic imaging center; 84 additional medical/surgical beds; and an enlarged intensive-care center with 16 additional beds. At 400-bed Immanuel Medical Center on the citys northwest side, Alegent announced projects valued at
$83.1 million. These include: an expanded rehabilitation center with all private rooms; a new residential treatment center to provide behavioral health services for children and adolescents; upgraded private patient rooms; a new ambulatory center; and emergency department renovation and expansion. Earlier this year, Alegent had announced it would spend $52 million to nearly double the capacity of its 72-bed Lakeside Hospital. The hospital opened in 2004 on the citys growing west side and admissions are exceeding expectations, Alegent spokeswoman Dina Maas said.
VINCENNES, Ind.Good Samaritan Hospital has started construction on a 25,000-square-foot cancer center scheduled to open in spring 2008. The 232-bed hospital in southwest Indiana is building out from its existing radiation therapy area to make room for 12 infusion suites with a second floor devoted to office space for oncologists. The hospital is funding the $6 million from cash reserves, a spokeswoman said.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.