In these trying and divisive times, it is always nice to see a bit of uplifting news, especially where healthcare is concerned. Citizens of Lexington, Kentucky have plenty to celebrate, as two hospitals have just filed requests with the state Board of Medical Licensure to undertake expansion projects worth just under $64.5 million between the both of them.
The University of Kentucky Hospital has put forward the larger of the two requests, accounting for roughly $50 million of the above figure. The hospital has extensive plans for what to do with that cash, as it wants to increase its number of beds for acute care by 141; this would bring the total number of beds in the hospital to 865.
Meanwhile, the Baptist Health Lexington Hospital has also put forward its own propositions, albeit more modest in scope and cost. The Baptist Health Lexington is hoping to pay for 43 more beds to the current total it holds of 391. This project is significantly cheaper, costing $14.4 million, but there is hope in the city that both proposals can be given the go ahead.
It was only in 2015 that the University of Kentucky hospital last undertook expansion works, and while it was hoped that that project would lead to a significant improvement in the hospital’s capacity, an unprecedented increase in patient volume has mitigated the benefits the previous renovations bestowed. That last expansion saw the University of Kentucky Hospital bolster its total number of available acute care beds up to 120 and this new expansion would more than double that figure.
The planned expansion at Baptist Health will certainly present a logistical test for the hospital and for construction crews who will have to work around the hospital’s usual functioning. The hospital’s proposals mean that it will have to renovate space on two floors, the third and fourth, of its South tower. These floors together account for some 24,000 feet of space which will need to be renovated before the new beds can be brought in.
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The University of Kentucky filed its application in January and in that application the hospital cited patient need as being the primary driver for its submission. There is concern among some members of staff that at peak times the hospital is becoming dangerously overcrowded. When the number of patients in the hospital begins to approach the maximum capacity it is capable of catering to, then this puts the hospital on edge; it is only a few steps away from having to turn people away.
Reports from staff at the University of Kentucky hospital report that they have seen close to 60 people who are in temporary accommodation while no beds are available. Hopefully these proposed renovations can make a real difference to the lives of the citizens of Lexington.