Houston Medical Center plans $42 million expansion

lmorris@macon.comSeptember 12, 2012 

A $42 million expansion project planned at the Houston Medical Center in Warner Robins would affect some areas of the hospital that haven’t been touched since the hospital was built more than 50 years ago.

The hospital filed a certificate of need application last month with the state for the expansion on the northeast corner of the property at 1601 Watson Blvd.

“It would not be adding any new services except we would be replacing six new modern operating rooms, a new pain clinic and a new outpatient surgery area,” said Sonny Watson, chairman of the Houston Healthcare System board. “Our pain clinic has probably got 500 square feet in it and we actually need three or four times that space. And, we need a centralized waiting room.”

“We are using now 1960-sized operating rooms -- that’s when the hospital was built -- and equipment is now much larger. We need additional room in the operating rooms for more modern equipment.”

The existing six operating rooms and other areas would remain in use while the renovation is done, Watson said.

Even though there are a lot of unknowns ahead in the health care industry, the hospital board decided to plan for the future, he said.

“Of course, we don’t know when it will start because we need to see what will happen with the Affordable Health Care (for America) Act in November with a new president or the existing president,” Watson said. “Maybe in that time it will be settled out and we can go ahead and complete it. If they cut Medicaid and Medicare, like they are proposing to do ... then we might not do it.”

If things move forward as hoped, the construction period would take about 12 to 15 months, he said.

A little further south, construction is under way on a $2.8 million expansion of Perry Hospital. It will add nine patient rooms, a new nurses station and transcription rooms for doctors. The project will eliminate all semi-private rooms.

This work is expected to be completed about the first of December, Watson said.

A separate $180,000 project, which began in early spring, to refurbish the front entrance of the hospital, widened the driveway and added the hospital’s name to the building has been completed, he said.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

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