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New inpatient unit at Medical Center East debuts June 19

Jun. 7, 2018, 9:10 AM

The newly converted eighth floor of Medical Center East-North Tower will have 30 inpatient rooms and seven observation beds. (photo by Anne Rayner)

The conversion of the eighth floor of Medical Center East (MCE)-North Tower on the Vanderbilt University Medical Center campus from outpatient space to inpatient beds is now complete and the new unit is scheduled to open on Tuesday, June 19.

The new North Tower Medicine/Cardiac Stepdown Unit will have 30 patient rooms and seven observation beds. On its opening day, some patients will be transferred from other inpatient units, while others will be new admissions.

“Through consistently high demand for the services we provide, increasing patient access remains our biggest opportunity for growth. The Medical Center East North Tower renovation, and the completion of its first new floor, is a welcome addition to our efforts to continue to meet the needs of the rapidly growing region we serve,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).

The structure for a new three-floor pedestrian bridge was installed in December, connecting the North Tower of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital (VUAH) to Medical Center East-North Tower. The new bridge connects the two buildings on the sixth, seventh and eighth floors, but only the eighth floor connector will be operational when the new unit opens, said Bobby Otten, senior director of Space and Facilities Planning.

“We’re excited about this project and this floor coming on line,” Otten said. “It’s taken an entire team a lot of work to get it ready for opening. This unit will serve the community well.”

The MCE project began in May 2017, and the longer-range plan, which will similarly convert the sixth and seventh floors of MCE-North Tower to inpatient units, will begin in the second half of 2018, with construction completion of the project scheduled for the end of 2019 followed by occupancy in early 2020.

When completed, the Medical Center East-North tower will be fully integrated into the functions of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital. (photo by Anne Rayner)

“We are extremely proud of everyone’s hard work to make this new unit a reality for Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital,” said Mitch Edgeworth, MBA, Chief Executive Officer for Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital and Clinics. “The additional beds will give us room to care for more patients who need VUMC. We have always had the most talented workforce in the region; now we will have additional beds to allow our faculty and staff to care for their patients.”

When completed, the MCE-North Tower will be fully integrated into the functions of VUAH.

“The addition of this adult unit and those planned for completion in 2019, along with the expansion of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, are important components of our overall strategy for growth and also represent our ongoing commitment to the community,” said John F. Manning Jr., PhD, MBA, Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Chief of Staff for VUMC.

The MCE-South Tower is unaffected by the plans, and the clinics and other facilities currently in MCE-North Tower will be relocated with plenty of notice to employees of those areas and patients.

New locations for the clinics and administrative areas relocated through the MCE North Tower renovation include Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks, the Village at Vanderbilt and 2525 West End Ave.

In addition to the conversion of three floors to inpatient space, the project also includes upgrades to MCE-North Tower, including new heating and air conditioning units and a new, state-of-the-art glass exterior wall to replace the structure’s existing exterior wall.

The architectural and design work for the renovation is by Blair + Mui Dowd Architects, PC. “Helping to meet VUMC’s patient needs made this a very rewarding project for the entire team,” said VUMC’s longtime architect Donald Blair.

MCE-North Tower was built in two phases, completed in 1991 and 1993.

MCE-South Tower, which includes the Bill Wilkerson Center, the Eskind Diabetes Center, the Phi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute, the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute and other clinics and support offices, opened in 2005.

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