UF Health announces expansion plans

To accommodate anticipated growth in several areas, UF Health officials plan to build a new specialty tower that will house neuromedicine and cardiovascular hospitals.

In addition, renovations and additions to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital that include expansion of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, the pediatric intensive care unit and the neonatal intensive care unit also will take place.

“Our priority is to put patients first. We’re experiencing increasing demands for our services, and our hospitals have maintained such high patient volumes that we frequently are functioning at full capacity,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health. “As a trusted regional and statewide health care resource, we have a responsibility to ensure our facilities can assist us in providing the best possible outcomes while providing the best possible patient experience. These plans will help us meet our patient and community needs.”

The new specialty tower will be located on UF Health’s south campus, just east of Archer Road near the visitor parking lot for the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital, and will likely feature about 240 beds. The neuromedicine and cardiovascular hospitals will provide state-of-the-art care to patients with neurologic, neurosurgical, heart or vascular conditions and will include approximately 18 state-of-the-art operating rooms and intensive care units, along with complementary outpatient facilities.

“The new specialty hospital tower will allow us to better address the needs of patients with cardiovascular and neurological issues, much like we are providing care to cancer patients with great success at the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital,” said Timothy M. Goldfarb, CEO of UF Health Shands. “Expanding these nationally recognized medical programs will allow us to offer specialized care to more patients.”

The UF Health Shands Hospital board of directors will evaluate a formal proposal next spring and UF Health officials hope to begin construction next summer, with a goal of opening the new tower in 2018.

In addition, UF Health is committed to creating a children’s hospital with all aspects of pediatric care together in one facility, and extensive renovations to the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital are underway to make that happen. When these renovations are complete, UF Health will have a world-class, 200-bed children’s hospital.

Renovations on the 10th floor, scheduled for completion in January, will transform the former executive suite into a specialized unit to house the UF Health Congenital Heart Center. The pediatric intensive care unit also will receive upgrades. These additions will ultimately free some fourth-floor space formerly used for pediatric cardiology, allowing for future pediatric area enhancements.

Expansion of the neonatal intensive care unit will begin within 12 months. The changes follow on the heels of creation of a new women’s unit last year that features all private rooms for postpartum and gynecology patients, as well as renovations of the entry to labor and delivery and the triage area where patients are initially evaluated to ensure a warm, welcoming and private environment.

“We are committed to expanding the neonatal ICU and integrating it with a state-of-the-art obstetrical unit to provide the best possible care for pregnant women and their babies,” said David Burchfield, M.D., medical director for the neonatal intensive care unit.

Enhancements to the children’s hospital will include a new glass-front pavilion entrance, a welcome area designed especially for pediatric patients and their families and dedicated elevators to children’s hospital services. These changes will improve access to the children’s areas on the east side of the building. Preparations are underway and exterior enhancements are set to be completed in early spring 2014. The welcome area lobby is scheduled to be complete in summer 2014.

As the east entrance is renovated for patients accessing pediatric and women’s care, there also are plans to renovate the existing UF Health Shands Hospital Atrium, which is centrally located off the hospital front circle. This renovated atrium will be used as a patient and visitor waiting area with furniture that can be rearranged for special events. The area will be more patient- and visitor-focused and used as the main entrance for adult services. Patients entering from the east parking areas to access adult services will be directed to this atrium through an entrance adjacent to the new children and family east entrance.