In the face of what UVA Executive Vice President Leonard Sandridge called “a very heavy patient load” at the UVA Hospital, there are plans to break ground this summer on a long-term, acute-care hospital just west of the city. The 40-bed hospital will cost around $24 million, according to Thomas Harkins, the director of UVA’s Health System Facilities Planning and Capital Development.
UVA wants to begin construction in June on a new long-term, acute-care hospital on the grounds of its North Ridge facilities on 250W.
UVA officials laid out preliminary plans for the hospital at the February 21 Planning & Coordination Council (PACC) meeting with leaders from the city and county. Those plans could include a fire station on the North Ridge Grounds, approximately a mile and a half west of the city on Route 250. If the county gives its approval, construction would begin in June.
The hospital would care for patients with a minimum stay of 25 days. At the main UVA Hospital, the average stay is about six days.
“It could be a patient who’s on a ventilator for a long period of time,” says Harkins. “That’s a large portion of that population. It could also be a post- or pre-transplant patient.”
With the heavy patient load, having a facility to treat long-term patients will mean quicker bed turnover at the main hospital.
“When [long-term patients] are in a bed at the main hospital, it minimizes the turnover of that bed,” Harkins says. “You could get four of five patients in that same bed in the main hospital.”
UVA Health Center spokesperson Peter Jump says the Medical Center will resubmit a revised site plan to the county in the coming two weeks. The hospital, with about 40 beds, could also get long-term patients from Martha Jefferson, Augusta and Culpeper hospitals.
The hospital will employ approximately 100 staff, most of them nurses. Sandridge said that the majority of the staff would come from new hires. And this would mean new jobs, good news for the county and city, though Sandridge added that they would also be hiring from outside the local community.
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