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'Hospital of the future' proposed for Fenton

Shown is a rendering of SSM Health Care-St. Louis' proposed 58-bed 'hospital of the future' in Fenton that will replace St. Joseph Hospital of Kirkwood. The replacement hospital will be part of a 54-acre health care campus that will include a paperless information technology system, outpatient services, and a medical office building. The $215 million health care campus is expected to be complete in spring 2008.
January 19, 2005 - Approval of a new, 158-bed hospital near the intersection of Highway 141 and Bowles Avenue in Fenton will be among the May 21 discussion items before the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee.

SSM Health Care-St. Louis is seeking permission to develop a "hospital of the future,'' according to Stacy Thomson, communications director for St. Joseph Hospital of Kirkwood.

The new hospital will be part of a 54-acre health care campus that will include a paperless information technology system, outpatient services and a medical office building. Built in 1939, St. Joseph Hospital in Kirkwood will close upon completion of the Fenton facility.

"The old facility will be used, there has been talk of a nursing home facility, but we're really wanting to work with officials in Kirkwood to determine what they would prefer go there,'' Thom-son told the Mail Call.

More important than the accessibility of the 54-acre site just south of Interstate 44, currently Lakewood Golf Course, Thomson said the new facility will make the most of new technology which has antiquated most hospital floor plans. Specifically, hand-held information technology devices called "BlackBerries'' have made the hospital nurses' station unnecessary.

At the heart of the campus will be a state-of-the-art, paperless information technology system to strengthen the quality of services, improve efficiencies and enhance patient safety.

"We intend to design a unique healing environment, inside and out, that embraces our patients and supports our staff with the ultimate in clinical excellence, safety, convenience and comfort,'' SSM President Ron-ald Levy stated in a news release.

In addition, the hospital will feature a 24-hour emergency department, comprehensive medical and such surgical services as heart, cancer, orthopedics and women's services.

The campus will include an outpatient care center and a medical office building.

When complete in the spring of 2008, the $215 million health-care campus will be six miles from the old facility.

"This replacement hospital will offer a greatly enhanced health care environment with the qualities we know our patients prefer,'' stated Sherry Hausmann, president des-ignate of St. Joseph Hospital who also will serve as president of the new facility.

St. Joseph and SSM filed a letter of intent with the Health Facilities Review Committee last month.

Committee approval is a prerequisite for construction. Motivated by federal laws passed in 1974, the facilities review is an effort to contain costs, improve quality and increase access for many of Missouri's major health care services, according to the committee's Web site.

Other amenities planned for the new hospital and health-care campus include:

• Spacious, all private rooms that offer convenient overnight accommodations for loved ones.

• "One-stop" convenience for a full range of outpatient services such as lab, X-ray and other diagnostic services.

• An intelligent design that takes full advantage of the site's natural beauty, in-cluding gardens, fountains and other water features, courtyards and wooded areas.

• Abundant parking close to all entrances and exits.

The area south of I-44 is one of the fastest growing areas of St. Louis County, according to population and market data, and the Fenton location, Thomson said, is an opportunity to provide Kirkwood customers and residents of the rapidly growing Fenton area with a modern facility.

"I think it's going to be truly unique in the whole country,'' Thomson said.

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