Franciscan Health System to expand St. Joseph, St. Clare hospitals

Citing an increase in patient volume, Franciscan Health System has announced a $47 million investment in expansion plans for St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma and St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood over the next several years.

St. Joseph’s outpatient surgery volume has climbed 22 percent since 1997, and its other outpatient services have experienced similar increases. St. Clare’s emergency patient volumes have climbed nearly 82 percent since 1997.

A new 78,000-square-foot outpatient center will be built adjacent to St. Joseph Medical Center, located at 1717 South J Street.

The new outpatient center will include:

– Outpatient surgery – Eight operating rooms large enough to accommodate today’s complex medical technology and expansive pre- and post-operative holding areas.

– GI lab – With procedure rooms for various diagnostic and therapeutic gastrointestinal procedures.

– Outpatient imaging center – Fixed MRI, CT, ultrasound, dexa-scan and mammography and general radiology room. The center will feature the latest in high-tech imaging equipment.

– Rehabilitation therapies center – Physical, occupational, hand and speech therapies in addition to a lymphedema service.

– Centralized patient registration area – One stop registration for all outpatient services.

– New outpatient center parking resources – A 300-stall parking garage and 100 surface spaces for the outpatient center, plus and additional 250 surface parking spaces for the hospital campus.

Other improvements planned at St. Joseph include the renovation of the inpatient radiology department with improved CT and enhanced ultrasound rooms, and the relocation of the nuclear medicine department to the inpatient radiology department and new enhanced cameras. Site preparation will begin in October and the building will go into service in the spring of 2004.

Lakewood’s St. Clare Hospital, located at 11315 Bridgeport Way, will have its emergency department expanded and its surgical services with be improved with new pre- and post-operative holding areas. Expansion of the emergency services department will include a “fast track” service to more efficiently take care of a growing number of urgent care patients separate from more acutely ill or injured patients. Construction work is to begin in January 2003 and should be complete by July 2004.

The Hammes Company is the project manager for the St. Joseph and St. Clare projects. Sellen Construction is the general contractor for the outpatient center project at St. Joseph. Callison Architecture, Inc. designed the outpatient centers at St. Joseph and St. Francis. All of these companies have offices in Seattle.

“Our community has turned to Franciscan hospitals in greater numbers than ever before,” said Joseph Wilczek, president and CEO of Franciscan Health System. “These projects will ensure that St. Joseph and St. Clare hospitals will continue to be able to meet our community’s needs with excellent patient care and the latest in medical technology.”