The University of Rochester Medical Center will be expanding if all goes as planned. On Monday, officials announced plans for a $250 million expansion. The project is called “PRISM” which stands for Pediatric Replacement and Imaging Sciences Modernization. If approved, the expansion would include the construction of a six-floor tower next to the hospital’s emergency department. The tower would house radiology imaging services, 56 new adult patient beds and all of Golisano Children’s Hospital.
“Here at Strong Hospital, our occupancy on any given day averages 103 percent”, says Dr. Bradford Berk, CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center, “ everyday 40 to 60 patients who are admitted to the hospital are forced to wait in the emergency department while a room upstairs becomes available.”
Not to mention a third of Strong's patients come from outside Rochester. Strong Hospital has faced a continual patient bed shortage for the last several years. In 2006, there were 650 incidences where Strong was unable to accept patients needing specialty or academic-setting care. The new facility would not only help make room for adult patients but make the stay more comfortable for children.
“He just had open heart surgery a week ago,” says Richard Cilino about his four year old son, Alan. The Cilinos are from Addison, NY, about a two hour commute from the Southern Tier to Rochester. “One of us stays here on the cot, and one of us stays at the Ronald McDonald House.”
Alan shares his hospital room with Jamell Tyson Jr. of Webster. Born only weeks ago, Jamell also had open heart surgery. The room is a tight fit for both families who are staying with their children 24 hours a day.
“I'm here, pretty much from the early morning until I go to work and then I'm here at night. It's not too comfortable,” says Jamell Tyson Sr., Jamell Jr.’s father.
“The biggest issue that we've had in pediatrics is that we've not had private rooms so we've had infection control issues from time to time,” says Dr. Nina Schor, director of pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
The PRISM project will give each child their own room and make it more convenient to do important imaging tests on the smallest patients because imaging services will be located next to the Children’s Hospital.
“It will mean that we no longer have to move a child who's an impatient through an adult-centered ward or hallway to get them to x-ray, MRI or CT,” says Dr. Schor.
The University of Rochester is currently applying for a Certificate of Use from New York State to justify its need for expansion. The Certificate of Use also includes re-licensing the hospital for an additional 123 patient beds. The hospital will be applying for $150 million in loans, the remaining $100 million will be made up by a combination of private and public donations. If Strong should receive approval, construction is expected to begin in summer 2008 and be complete by 2012.