USA Health recently announced in a press release they received the green light from the Alabama Certificate of Need (CON) Review Board to renovate two floors of University Hospital, adding over 65 beds to the facility.
“As the region’s only Level I trauma, regional burn and comprehensive stroke center, it is important that we have the capacity to meet the growing needs of our community,” Owen Bailey, CEO of USA Health, said. “These additional beds will ensure our capacity to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic. USA Health thanks the members of the CON Review Board, and its chair, Dr. Swaid for recognizing the need for these additional resources in the Mobile region.”
Plans call for USA Health to renovate the 10th and 11th floors of University Hospital, creating medical, surgical and critical care patient suites on each floor.
Additionally, on each floor, the bed complement will include two isolation rooms, four American with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant patient rooms and associated nursing stations with common areas.
The estimated cost of construction and new equipment is approximately $15.2 million.
“This will enable us to upgrade the mechanical systems including HVAC units and electrical controls throughout University Hospital,” USA Health Hospital Administrator Sam Dean said.
He went on to say the completion of this project means 111 new beds have been put into operation since October 2017.
Gastroenterology lab nears completion
Earlier this month, the recently expanded gastroenterology lab opened, more than doubling the capacity for local area patients needing endoscopies.
The new 8,000-square-foot lab space boasts state-of-the-art Fujifilm equipment and includes five procedure rooms.
“The division of gastroenterology has experienced huge growth over the past few years,” Dean said. “This growth has been instrumental in the success we have seen not only as a hospital, but as a health system. The original space was not adequate to meet volume. We needed to modernize the facilities so that our providers would have access to the best equipment to offer premium care for our patients.”
“When we started, we had two goals in mind,” Dr. Benjamin Niland, USA College of Medicine’s interim program director of gastroenterology, said. “First, we wanted to ensure our patients have an excellent clinical experience. We also wanted to create the best environment for our care providers to deliver the highest quality of care possible.”
New colon cancer screening and training center
With a growing USA primary care base, the clinic also instituted an open-access endoscopy clinic for patients in need of colon cancer screening.
“The new service is operated by our advanced practice providers,” Niland said. “They will perform a phone interview with the patient to determine their fitness for open-access endoscopy. In this way, the patient can be prepared and scheduled for their colonoscopy procedure with a telehealth phone visit.
“As an academic health system, we also have the added responsibility of training the next generation of physicians,” he continued. “This modern lab enables us to introduce our students and residents to the GI world of today.”
Fanny Meisler Trauma Center opens Fall 2020
Finally, University Hospital is on track for a fall opening of the Fanny Meisler Trauma Center, which will more than double the size of USA Health’s emergency department from 11,000 to 27,000 square feet, and nearly double the current 22 private and semi-private exam rooms spaces to 41 private exam beds.
“Governor Ivey recognized the economic development importance to our region of the Level I trauma center, and we are thankful for her generous support of $4 million from the economic development bond issue,” USA CEO Owen Bailey said. “Local philanthropist Bert Meisler generously contributed $5 million for the facility to ensure the region continues to have this very important resource. We gratefully are naming the facility in honor of Bert’s late wife, Fanny.”
Construction on the new project is scheduled to start before the end of 2020 and be completed by the end of 2021.
LOCAL CHAMBERS LAUDED
The Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) recently announced in a press release nine chambers across the state received the prestigious Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce (AACC) distinction.
Three local area chambers in Lower Alabama were among the recipients. Two recognized hailed from Mobile County, while one resided in Baldwin.
The award winners identified included Southwest Mobile County Chamber of Commerce, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and Coastal Alabama Business Chamber.
The announcement was made at the organization’s summer convention in Point Clear.
The AACC award is reportedly one of the more prestigious programs of CCAA, which sets standards of achievement for chambers across the state. The accolade recognizes chambers hitting high standards and offers improvement tips for those that have fallen short of the mark.
The panel of judges looked at six standards: organization, mission focus, professional administration, financial management, communications and advocacy.
“As one of CCAA’s most prestigious programs, the Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce program shows that each chamber receiving the distinction is committed to the highest standards of organization management,” Dean Mitchell, executive director of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and CCAA’s 2020 chairman of the board of directors, said. “This distinction recognizes local chambers of commerce in Alabama that strengthen free enterprise by protecting their local business environment. They most certainly represent the highest standards in our profession.”
The other chambers lauded across the state were Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce, Calhoun County Area Chamber, Opelika Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the Shelby County Chamber.
“The accreditation process is very rigorous and highlights that each chamber is truly the ‘best of the best’ across our state,” Jeremy L. Arthur, president and CEO of CCAA, said.
Since its inception in 1937, CCAA has been a best-practice advocate for chambers of commerce across the state. It works in conjunction with the Business Council of Alabama and collectively represents over 1 million business interests throughout the state.
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