By Amber Jurgensen | Staff Writer
Steve Nierman, chief operating officer of South Florida Baptist Hospital, introduced a $5 million renovation plan at an open meeting June 19, at Hope Lutheran Church.
“It’s going to touch almost every department in the hospital and it’s really going to make it more conducive for patient care, for privacy and just more aesthetic for the patient,” Nierman said. The plan spans several different projects that should be completed in seven months. Nierman expects the rapid pace of the projects to be “disruptive,” but that it will pay off in the end.
The projects include: Renovations to the inpatient surgical care and telemetry units; a new women’s imaging center; and demolition of the Swindle Diagnostic Center to make room for a new parking lot.
“The real meat of the $5 million is actually rebuilding the inpatient surgical care unit,” Nierman said.
The unit is for those who undergo major invasive surgeries and are required to spend at least one night at the hospital. Currently, there only is enough space for 38 patients to fit in 18 rooms, which means that there are two patients to a room. There are only two community showers.
“That’s bad enough to have to have a roommate after going through a difficult surgery, but they literally share a narrow corridor with a toilet,” Nierman said.
The unit closed June 30 to begin an entire renovation that will create three times more space and include private rooms with their own bathrooms, showers, wood floors and electric boards to communicate with nurses, among other improvements.
“This is going to be the most modern, nicest, aesthetic impatient surgery center you will see in this county,” Nierman said.
During renovations, the unit has been moved to an observation unit in the ER. If there is an overflow, unused beds in the OB also will be utilized. The project should be complete by Jan. 30, 2013.
“Our goal is to be completely private, and this will get us about 80% on the way there,” Nierman said.
The telemetry unit for cardiac monitoring began its renovations in May. Work on the hospital’s busiest unit should be complete by the end of 2012. Eight rooms are being renovated at a time. The renovations include new bathroom walls, stone tile and new cabinets.
In a two-part project, the women’s services in the Swindle Diagnostic Center on West Reynolds Street will be moved into the hospital building to the right of the main entrance. Called the Women’s Imaging Center, the new unit will have its own private waiting area and include medical procedures, such as digital mammography and bone density scanning and will have stereotactic breast biopsy machines among other features. Construction on the Women’s Imaging Center began on June 24 and will end in October.
The Swindle Diagnostic Center will be demolished in November to create a new 119-space parking lot. With the demolition of the Swindle Diagnostic Center, the Walden Lake Medical Arts Center will be renamed the Ed and Myrtle Lou Swindle Medical Arts Center. The laboratory services in the Swindle Diagnostic Center will be moved into the Walden Lake Medical Arts Center. Hospital rehabilitation services will be located in the Walden Lake Medical Arts Center as well as physicians representing different medical services, including obstetrics and gynecology, neurologist, general surgeon and three primary-care doctors.
South Florida Baptist Hospital is one of 10 hospitals in the BayCare Health System, which is funding the renovations and projects.
“It’s hard to make the case that we need to rebuild our bathrooms and rebuild our units because they want to do things like add heart and vascular service and sexy stuff,” Nierman said. “But for five years, I’ve been harping on this every year, and they got sick of me. It’s a huge win for the community.”
For next year, Nierman is asking Baycare for $2.9 million to build another surgical suite at the heart and vascular center on Alexander Street and $2.5 million to replace five air handlers and an 800-ton chiller.