by Keith Barber

Monitoring the economic pulse of the Triad

Baptist Hospital begins preparations for major expansion

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has begun construction of a six-floor addition to its Comprehensive Cancer Center. According to a press release, the $125 million project adds four inpatient floors, a single day hospital floor and one administrative floor. It will also consolidate inpatient and outpatient services in a freestanding cancer hospital, which will be the first of its kind in the region. The expansion will increase the number of oncology inpatient beds to 148 acute care and 44 observation beds, from the hospital’s current level of 113 beds. The planned expansion will also add jobs to the medical center, including 24 additional physicians who specialize in critically-ill patients as well as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The new physicians and nurses will join a team of more than 120 clinicians and scientists working in cancer care and research. Currently, Baptist Hospital has 200 cancer-related clinical trials underway. The new cancer hospital will cover more than 530,600 square feet and will feature all private rooms.

“This project aligns with our commitment to developing an integrated health care delivery system, and provides the infrastructure required to grow advanced clinical programs — driven largely by our cutting-edge research and compassionate care — that will continue to distinguish Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center as a top-tier academic medical center,” said Dr. John McConnell, CEO, in a press release. “We truly will be a comprehensive cancer hospital, and offering both inpatient and outpatient services in a single facility will improve patient access, convenience and satisfaction.”

“Our mission is to care and to cure,” McConnell continued. “When it comes to cancer treatment, this expansion enables the medical center to take an outstanding program and put it under one roof which will only enhance the overall patient experience.”

The facility is scheduled to open in early 2014. — KTB