By Joe Southern
Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital is opening its new six-story patient tower next Wednesday.
The tower is the centerpiece of a $93 million expansion to the campus.
“The tower is complete and will open on Sept. 7 with our first patient,” said Greg Haralson, senior vice president and chief executive officer.
The addition of the 155,000-square-foot tower on the east side of the campus located at Hwy. 59 and the Grand Parkway significantly increases the number of patients the hospital can care for in addition to providing new and expanded services. The expansion adds 60 new beds bringing the hospital’s total to 147 with the potential of adding more later. Included in that is an increase in the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds from eight to 14 and the addition of 16 intermediate care beds.
“The intermediate care unit is not a unit we’ve had on this campus in the past,” Haralson said.
He explained that the intermediate care unit provides a level of service between the ICU and a regular hospital bed.
“It’s a higher level of care before you step down to general medicine care,” he said.
Not only is it expensive for both the patient and the hospital for the patient to stay in an ICU room, it also takes up valuable space from other patients who may need the higher level of care offered in the ICU. With the ICU and intermediate care unit on the same floor, the intermediate rooms can be quickly converted to ICU should the need arise.
Other improvements at the hospital include the addition of a new 3T MRI machine, a pediatric MRI unit, a new endoscopic area and more maternity beds.
“We’ve expanded our women’s imaging center,” Haralson said.
There is an expanded nursery and neonatal intensive-care unit. Shelled space has been built for future expansion of four operating rooms. The tower itself is designed for the addition of four more floors on top.
“We’ve built the patient tower to meet the needs of our community today and in the future,” Haralson said. “We have the foundation and infrastructure in place to add four additional floors to the patient tower when necessary. We want to continue to be the healthcare provider of choice for Sugar Land and Fort Bend County and it’s our goal to innovate in a way that meets the unexpressed wishes and needs of our community.”
The top floor of the new tower is not inhabited and is used for building mechanics. The fifth floor is currently shelled space but can be used to add 30 in-patient rooms.
The fourth floor houses 30 regular in-patient rooms. The third floor will have the Intensive Care Unit and Intermediate Care Unit.
Endoscopy, cardiopulmonary and respiratory units and the pharmacy are on the second floor.
“We have room for a future digestive disease center,” he said.
The main floor, which opened to the public in May, has expanded conference room spaces, a café and a pre-admission testing department.
The addition and relocation of services opens room in the existing buildings for expansion.
“We’re expanding our beds for post-partum patients so our moms after delivery have more room,” Haralson said.
Not only is there more room for mothers to recover, there is also more space to meet the emergency needs of babies.
“We have an expanded neonatal ICU, going from four to 10 beds,” he said.
Haralson said many of the additions and upgrades are directed at taking care of children.
“We’re dedicated to taking care of the children in this market … We want to keep these kids and take care of them right here,” he said.
The additional space and services also means the need for more personnel.
“We’ve hired 170 new team members – we call them family members here. It’s family caring for family,” Haralson said.
In April the Memorial Herman IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute opened on the campus. Phase I of the expansion and renovation of the campus was completed in December and included completion of Medical Plaza 2 and the installation of an Advanced Computed Tomography (CT) scanner and a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine that will allow pediatric patients to receive an MRI on the campus for the first time.
“We continue to expand beyond what we offer on campus. This past year we’ve brought safe, convenient, high quality healthcare closer to home through the opening of our Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Sienna Plantation and Memorial Hermann Urgent Care in Telfair,” he said.
The hospital opened 10 years ago. Haralson said it was strategically placed at the intersection of Highway 59 and the Grand Parkway for easy access and also with future growth of the community in mind.
“This hospital was built here for a reason 10 years ago,” Haralson said.
The campus was designed to be added onto and even the additions reflect the ability for expansion. Between the expansion of the campus and the addition of the clinics, Haralson said Memorial Hermann is making a sizeable commitment to the community.
“We’ve invested over $100 million throughout the Fort Bend County area,” he said.