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Expansion of Capital Region tied to evolution of hospital care

Above is an architect's conception of expansion plans announced May 23, 2013, at Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, looking east from Madison Street where Woodlawn Avenue now intersects. At left is the new construction planned, while the existing facility is depicted at right.

Above is an architect's conception of expansion plans announced May 23, 2013, at Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, looking east from Madison Street where Woodlawn Avenue now intersects. At left is the new construction planned, while the existing facility is depicted at right.

Capital Region Medical Center announced Friday a $35 million expansion to its Madison Street facility, adding 115,000 square feet to the hospital’s main campus, and increasing hospital space by a third.

The expansion is due in part to the changing landscape of health care, said Ed Farnsworth, president of CRMC. He said the expansion will better allow the hospital to give the appropriate care in the appropriate setting.

“This new expansion project is vital to us in a number of ways,” said Dr. Randy Haight, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs at CRMC. “It will allow us to consolidate specialty care and physician services into one convenient, easily accessible setting.”

Jack Pletz, chairman of CRMC’s board of directors, said the expansion “will add rooms for ambulatory services and will include two floors of medical offices.”

Ambulatory services are health care services provided to patients who are then able to return home and not required to stay overnight at a hospital.

CRMC’s expansion will also consolidate specialty physician services provided at various Jefferson City locations, as well as add an additional floor and a half of parking to the main facility.

The proposed expansion moves the entrance of CRMC farther northeast, although the entrance will remain on Madison Street. The expanded facility will extend northeast across Woodlawn Avenue, and onto the land currently occupied by a CRMC building at 1111 Madison St. The building houses CRMC’s Resident Clinic and an obstetrician’s office. The building will be torn down, and the clinic and physician will be relocated.

The expansion plans have not yet been approved by the city.

“In a perfect world, this is the intent,” said Amy Berendzen, CRMC’s director of marketing and public relations. “We have contingency plans if this doesn’t work out.”

Pletz cited the objectives of expansion being to enhance the outpatient experience and services, to improve access by creating a single main entrance for patients and to improve CRMC’s ability to recruit physicians to the Jefferson City community.

Farnsworth believes expansion is entirely about the quality of care.

“It’s less expensive to receive care in a doctor’s office or an outpatient setting,” he said.

He said the hospital is committed to providing patients convenient access to high quality medical care in the setting they need and prefer.

An assessment conducted by medical entities in the Jefferson City community last year found that access to health care is the No. 1 community health need.

The assessment was produced with the goal to identify the core issues to address in the community and to come up with how to provide the right care at the right time, at the right place and at the right cost.

Farnsworth said the expansion of its facility is CRMC trying to do just that.

He said it’s the hospital reacting to the future of health care.

“Outpatient is being emphasized and really is where most patients should get care,” he said. “For patients, it’s less expensive and less disruptive.

“This project will really enhance our care.”

He said with expansion, CRMC hopes to recruit physicians, especially specialists and primary care physicians, to the community. The increased space will allow for 30-35 additional physicians, increasing hospital staff by nearly 100 employees.

“This is 100 more jobs than we would have had otherwise,” Farnsworth said. “This is just something we had to do to allow care in the most appropriate setting.”

He also said that because CRMC is affiliated with University of Missouri Health Care, the hospital is working to recruit more physicians from the university.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 comes an increased need for primary care physicians.

A team of researchers recently published an article that identified a need in the United States for nearly 52,000 additional primary care physicians by 2025.

Most of the need will come from population growth, but some will come from an aging population and from more people being insured by the Affordable Care Act, according to the article, “Projecting U.S. Primary Care Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025.”

The Affordable Care Act is a law that includes comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over the next few years.

Pletz said CRMC is responding to the changing health care landscape by providing additional capacity for ambulatory services, the major area of future growth in the evolution of hospital treatment.

“This project will position Capital Region to continue to deliver the high quality health care services that our community has come to expect, well into the future,” he said.

Farnsworth expects to break ground on construction in the fall. The expanded facility will open in spring 2015.

History of CRMC

CRMC was founded in 1994 with the merging of two Jefferson City hospitals, the Charles E. Still Osteopathic Hospital and Memorial Community Hospital.

The hospital has continuously updated its facilities ever since.

In 1995, a new cardiac catheterization lab was opened to provide quicker results for patients and to provide new equipment to administer lower doses of radiation.

Two years later, the Capital Region cardiology team successfully performed its first open heart surgery.

In October 1997, CRMC formed an affiliation with the University of Missouri Health System, combining the strengths of an academic medical center and the strengths of a community-based hospital.

A renovation and expansion project at the main campus was completed in 1998, and that same year, CRMC’s website, www.crmc.org, went live.

A redesign of the hospital’s southwest campus at 1432 Southwest Blvd. became reality in 2000.

CRMC renovated inpatient rooms, making them all private in 2006. Two years later, the facility opened the Goldschmidt Cancer Center. The year 2010 brought the opening of the Sam B. Cook Healthplex located at 1432 Southwest Blvd.

Berendzen said there have been various renovations to the hospital complex since 2006.

CRMC is currently a 100-bed facility that also operates an extensive clinic system, including urgent care centers and physician practices.

It offers an accredited rehabilitation center, as well as cardiac and oncology services.

The hospital currently employs 1,400 people and is the third largest employer in Jefferson City.

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