FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUSTA, GA. – July 26, 2007 -- Today University Health Care System dedicated its new Outpatient Center, the first piece of a $93.6 million renovation and expansion project that began in 2003.
“Today we mark phase one completion of a project that is the largest in the hospital’s history, and one of the largest in the city of Augusta,” announced J. Larry Read, president/CEO of University Health Care System.
“In late 2003, we developed a steering committee comprised of board members, management and more than 60 physicians and clinical staff who stood on the front lines of patient care every day, Mr. Read explained. “We gave them the task of developing a blueprint for the future of health care delivery for our region for the next 10 years.
“By 2004 we had agreed that to serve the needs of an aging population, University would embark on a renovation and expansion project that would include a state-of-the art cardiovascular center, new and expanded operating rooms, a surgical family waiting area and a new Outpatient Center.”
The Outpatient Center would the first piece completed.
“As our outpatient services have increased, we realized that we basically had an acute care inpatient facility that we had adapted over the last 10 or 15 years to provide outpatient services in various locations,” Mr. Read said. “Nearly 300,000 patients come through our doors every year for outpatient testing. Yet, there was no single parking area, entry point or registration area for these patients.
“We believe creating a second front door and moving parking and registration closer to the actual delivery of services will create a more accessible, coordinated and overall positive outpatient experience,” Mr. Read said.
The New Outpatient Center was dedicated to University Hospital employees who donated more than $800,000 to University Health Care Foundation’s capital campaign in support of the project. The community fundraising drive, expected to top $8 million by the fall, is the largest capital campaign in the history of Augusta, according to Randolph Smith, M.D., a plastic surgeon who practices at University and co-chair of the capital campaign.
“Their generosity demonstrates the spirit of giving which has sustained and enhanced the quality of health care in our community,” Dr. Smith said. “They are representative of University’s proud heritage and visionary future.”
Some features of the center include:
- A newly expanded flat parking lot right outside the front door dedicated to the Outpatient Center, with wheelchair assistance and Security attendants
- A dedicated parking area for patient drop-off and pick-up
- A greeter to assist patients with directions
- A call-ahead service for patients with standing laboratory orders so they can call and let the staff know what time they are coming, and the staff will pull their paperwork and have everything ready when they arrive.
- New mechanical beds in the pre-op testing area that can be lowered or raised to make it easier for elderly patients or patients with other medical issues or for added comfort
- Seven registration areas on the second floor to help expedite paperwork
- Volunteers to help with directions or serve as escorts to the service areas
Coming within the next year will be two medical kiosks up front where patients who prefer can register themselves or complete other transactions like bill pay or bill tracking.