Wednesday, June 12, 2013

UK Board of Trustees OKs $31 million plan to outfit another floor of new hospital with eye toward federal certification for heart work

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has given UK HealthCare the green light for its $31 million plan to outfit the eighth floor of Pavilion A at UK Chandler Hospital over the next few months to make room for a growing cardiovascular program and to clear the way for a federal "Center of Excellence" certification.

After the project is complete, the floor will hold 64 beds, including 24 intensive-care beds for the cardiovascular program that offers heart transplantation, artificial hearts and ventricular devices, reflecting UK's focus on receiving the federal certification.

In the near future, such a designation will be necessary to get enough referrals from doctors and smaller hospitals to maintain important services, including cardiovascular services, and to guarantee that Kentuckians can get the care they need inside the state, Dr. Michael Karpf, executive vice president for health affairs, said in an interview with Kentucky Health News this spring.

Karpf and other UK HealthCare officials are also recommending a $30 million cost-reduction program for their system because Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements are expected to decline as competition stiffens over the next few years, reports Linda Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

In response to these forces, UK has a goal to secure half the available business from out-of-state competitive areas over the next 10 years to remain viable in a highly competitive market. And, focusing on complex care should drive revenue for the hospital because UK makes money on the complex stuff, Karpf told KHN.

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The $592 million, 12-floor patient tower has remained half-empty since 2010, and when the estimated $530 million project to fully occupy the tower is added to the initial cost of constructing Pavilion A, the total price tag will top $1 billion over 20 years, reports Blackford.

The overall construction and expansion is expected to support patient care for the next 100 years, says a recent UK press release. Once it's fully occupied, the the 1.2 million-square-foot facility will include 512 private patient rooms.

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