New Albany hospital expansion begins soon

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County is gearing up to grow inside and out.
“The next two years are going to be an exciting time,” Walter Grace, chief executive of the New Albany hospital, said Thursday.
On Aug. 16, Baptist Memorial-Union County will break ground on a $12 million expansion of its emergency department. The new emergency department will face Oxford street on the backside of the Highway 30 campus.
The 23,000 square-foot project, which includes additional parking spaces to reclaim those lost to the expansion, will move the New Albany hospital from 7 to 22 treatment rooms. They anticipate the project will be complete in the summer of 2014.
“We are undersized for the population we serve,” Grace said.
The emergency department has seen its annual visits grow by nearly 12 percent since 2009, according to documentation filed to support the hospital’s certificate of need that was granted May 30. Conservative projections estimate the annual visits will exceed 25,000 by 2015.
But the emergency department is not the only project underway at the New Albany hospital.
“Our philosophy is to always get better,” Grace said.
The Baptist Memorial Health Care system is using the New Albany hospital to pilot the use of iPhones by the nursing staff to improve communication with patients and physicians. Using special software, the iPhones tie into the nurse call system, allowing them to talk back to patients. The phones also give physicians a way to directly call specific nurses instead of being routed through unit coordinators.
In May the hospital upgraded its lab and added a 64-slice CT scanner. The hospital will move its existing CT scanner into the renovated emergency department
Also on the horizon:
• In July, the hospital will begin a telemedicine arrangement that will provide neurology coverage with the assistance from Memphis neurologists.
• A pediatrician will join the medical staff in November. The hospital is actively recruiting a general surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, a pulmonologist and a family medicine physician to meet the community’s growing needs.
• Baptist-employed physicians are slated to go live with the Epic electronic health record in January. The hospital itself is slated to move the system by December 2014.
michaela.morris@journalinc.com