A renovated critical care pavilion kicks off MetroHealth System hospital’s total campus transformation 100 years in the making.
When a structure that provides essential community value to a region is able to celebrate its centennial, it’s time for an upgrade. The age and condition at the physical campus of The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio, may have left a lot to be desired, but hospital leaders knew it had a diamond in the rough.
A total campus transformation began about two years ago, and phase one—the Critical Care Pavilion (CCP) expansion—was recently completed.
“The building my office is currently in is 100 years old,” shared Walter Jones, the Senior Vice President of Campus Transformation for the group. “The bones (structure) are fine, but like a lot of hospitals like this, much of these facilities’ infrastructure and interiors have outlived their useful lives.”
Over the past two years, multiple teams both on the construction side and hospital administration side have come together to complete this $82 million project.
The project started in the fall of 2014. The goal of The MetroHealth System and its leaders was to have the CCP expansion completed by the Republican National Convention in July of 2016. The 18-month fuse had been lit, and all parties took off running.
“There was a lot of complexity. Vertical expansion over the two most sensitive departments at the hospital; not a lot of empty land for material handling, waste removal, and the like; the expansion was by the ambulance bays and main street, and adjacent to the Life Flight helicopter pad. I could go on. But this was a collaborative process. It was clear from the get-go that as many parties as possible needed to be brought on board early.”
Regular morning safety briefs, daily construction management team meetings, and dialogue with hospital operations created the foundation for this collaborative process. Complete awareness in-house—including reporting on what was going to happen “tomorrow, next week, and next year”—as well as communication with the police department about traffic detours and Life Flight groups about the helicopter pad kept things going at a breakneck pace.
“Fast track can’t quite explain it,” Jones said. “Another challenge was working through winter. But every challenge was met head on, and not just by the construction team, but hospital operations in tandem to make sure everyone could continue doing their jobs.”
A unique challenge that presented itself partway through the construction process was the need to incorporate a new special disease care unit. The MetroHealth System was selected as a regional Ebola treatment center in January of 2015, allowing the architects on the CCP the opportunity to build an Ebola unit from scratch with the best and latest innovation.
“If it wasn’t for the collaborative environment, the opportunity to do this might have been jeopardized,” Jones shared.
Shortly after, the CEO requested to have a fully working mockup of a patient room for the second annual stakeholders meeting in May of 2015. With the architect hired in January and the construction manager in March, the team had their work cut out for them.
“Design was underway, and we had a pretty good idea of what the rooms were going to be like,” said Jones. “The mockup had to be fully functional, and it had to be broken down, transported, and reassembled. This was a unique challenge; usually when you build a hospital room, it’s there to stay.
“But it ended up being a great design tool; it was the design we actually ended up going with. And it was a great training opportunity. Staff needed to be trained on an entirely new layout, and this was the perfect space for that. And it was a big hit with the stakeholders and patient and family advisors.”
These collaborative efforts only scratch the surface of how Jones and his teams worked together seamlessly to deliver a stunning, functional end product. This was about more than the physical renovation; it was an opportunity for the business and operations to evolve as well.
“The physical, renovated structure is the end result, but there’s a lot more at stake here. There’s the business aspect: what the healthcare system here in Cleveland and at MetroHealth wants to become. Then there’s the organizational/operational component: what the hospital needs to evolve into to provide that business structure.
“Both of these build on the physical aspect, which supports the direction The MetroHealth System wants to travel in the future.”
Jones and The MetroHealth System will continue its total campus transformation to make sure the structures reflect the business and organizational approaches the team wants to take. But there are a few key drivers to their construction strategies.
“The organization’s goal is to move toward more ambulatory environments. Improve access to care in the county. Lower costs for patients. MetroHealth wants to address more wellness and fewer emergency situations. This means the methods and means of delivering care are going to change, and we have to be ready for that.”
Jones couldn’t specify what was next in the campus transformation of The MetroHealth System, but we do know that it will be successful. With this level of ingenuity and collaboration, how could it not?
With an unwavering commitment to our community, we welcome the opportunity to care for patients from all walks of life. We believe that diversity of patients and staff enriches our environment and gives us an informed world view.
Since 1837, The MetroHealth System has cared for Clevelanders for their most basic health needs and through national crises such as the outbreak of tuberculosis and the polio epidemic. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designated MetroHealth as an official Ebola treatment center, the only one in Ohio.
Today, MetroHealth is an integrated health system with an acute care hospital housing a Level I Adult Trauma and Burn Center, a skilled nursing facility and more than 25 locations throughout Cuyahoga County with more on the way. Annually, we handle more than one million patient visits including more than 100,000 in the Emergency Department, one of the busiest in the country. That’s an average of 274 Emergency Department visits per day. As a Level I Adult Trauma and Burn Center, we have full trauma surgical teams ready around the clock, ready whenever you need us.
As the county hospital, an essential hospital, we welcome everyone who comes through our doors. And we do that in a fiscally responsible way so that the funds from Cuyahoga County taxpayers, 4.3 percent of our total operating revenue, earn a valuable return. In 2015, with Cuyahoga County’s $40 million, we delivered care valued at more than two and a half times that amount (in excess of $110 million).