Reading Health System Board Approves Major Construction of Clinical Building
August 04, 2013
$333 Million, 150-Private Room Building Will Be Among Region’s Most Technologically-Sophisticated Surgical Centers
Reading Health System announced today that its Board of Directors has approved $333.2 million in funding for the construction of the 13th clinical building on Reading Hospital’s West Reading campus. Groundbreaking is anticipated in September, with completion projected for fall 2016.
To be located along Seventh Avenue on the west side of the Hospital’s campus, the new building will be a combination surgical and inpatient tower with seven clinical levels and one support infrastructure level. It will be among the region’s most technologically sophisticated surgical centers.
Victor Hammel, Reading Health System’s Chairman of the Board, said, “This major financial decision, more than two years in the making, reflects the Board’s deep and long-term commitment to the greater Berks community – both to our patients and their families – in providing the highest quality care, and to our 7,000 dedicated staff members in providing state-of-the-art facilities that support their daily mission to provide that outstanding level of care.”
Clint Matthews, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Reading Hospital’s surgical services are currently spread across five buildings – including two originally constructed in 1926, with interventional procedure rooms in other areas of the complex.”
“This combination of distance and older rooms too small to efficiently accommodate robotic, interventional, and other minimally invasive technology had to be addressed to further advance our regional leadership in neurosciences, cardiac and vascular care, robotic surgery, and other surgical specialties,” Mr. Matthews added.
Mr. Matthews cited a 341% increase in ambulatory procedures in Berks County over the last 10 years, and continued growth expected based both on the expected increase in healthcare services for aging baby boomers and expanding life expectancy. “This facility is part of Reading Health System’s plan to assure that we are prepared to care for our friends and neighbors right here in Berks County for many years to come,” he said.
The new building will house: 24 surgical suites, including six hybrid operating rooms; eight minor procedure rooms; and reception and recovery areas for individuals scheduled for either outpatient or inpatient procedures.
To support clinical collaboration and Reading Hospital’s academic mission, procedure rooms, conference areas, and offices will be equipped with video communications systems to link healthcare providers in real time.
Robert A. Brigham, MD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery and member of the Board of Directors, said, “The ultimate beneficiaries of the new structure and its capabilities extend beyond patients and include staff members. Because of staff’s input throughout the design and planning stage, the new space will be more efficient, safer, and more comfortable for caregivers as they provide for the needs of patients. It will also help us recruit additional top-notch surgeons, nurses, and other experts to our perioperative team.”
The new building will also feature five nursing units each with 30 private universal patient rooms. Private rooms, now considered a standard of care, are recognized in the healthcare industry as helping improve clinical outcomes by enhancing patient safety, staff efficiency, and patient and family comfort.
The 150 private rooms will also have a universal design, meaning that patients can remain in the same location as appropriate levels of services are brought to them, rather than having to be moved. The design allows for rooms or even an entire nursing unit to be converted from acute to intensive care and back again with minimal disruption, since the services required for all levels will be installed during original construction.
Two of the five nursing units will be 30-bed intermediate care units, a level of care between acute and intensive. These units will also feature private accommodations as well as a line-of-sight design that enables patients to be in direct view of nursing staff at all times.
The new facility will also increase Reading Hospital’s Emergency Department and Trauma Center’s capacity to treat patients by adding15 emergency treatment rooms and four trauma bays to these vital safety net services.
Reading Hospital’s Emergency Department is the busiest single-site ED in the state, caring for more than 11,000 patients each month. Its Trauma Center’s volume continues to be among the busiest in the Commonwealth.
Mr. Hammel said, “Reading Health System initiated planning for the new structure two years ago. The Board employed this diligent planning process because of the expansion of project scope, changes in the national healthcare environment, and the desire for active engagement of doctors, nurses, and support staff with the architectural and construction management experts.”
Ballinger, based in Philadelphia, continues its longstanding relationship with Reading Health System as project architect. LF Driscoll Co., LLC, Bala Cynwyd, PA, has been selected to provide construction management.
About Reading Health System
Reading Health System, headquartered in West Reading, Pennsylvania, provides a full spectrum of healthcare services through four major entities: Reading Hospital, Reading Health Rehabilitation Hospital, Reading Health Physician Network, and The Highlands at Wyomissing. Joint ventures that enhance its focus on specific clinical and operational initiatives include: Reading Health Partners, Berkshire Health Partners, and Reading Health Home Care.
The flagship of Reading Health System, the 147-year-old Reading Hospital provides highly specialized cardiac and vascular, cancer, orthopaedic, and neuroscience services. Its staff also maintains strong core programs for women and children’s health, emergency and trauma care, surgery including robotic and other minimally invasive options, weight management, and behavioral health including drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Reading Hospital’s medical staff numbers close to 850 physicians in 50 specialty fields, coordinating 171,000 days of inpatient care annually. Outpatient care is managed through Hospital departments and 19 satellite facilities throughout the community.
Reading Hospital also has a strong academic mission, maintaining six physician residency programs and a School of Health Sciences for nursing, medical imaging, radiologic imaging, paramedicine, and clinical pastoral care students.