January 2, 2014

Vanderbilt announces expansion plans for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital

Vanderbilt University plans to build a four-floor inpatient expansion on top of the existing structure of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, hospital officials announced Dec. 31, 2013.

Each floor of the expansion will add approximately 40,000 square feet to Children’s Hospital that will be used to fulfill current and future health care needs of children from Tennessee and surrounding states.  This expansion, when completed, will bring Children’s Hospital’s inpatient capacity to nearly 1 million total square feet. Included in the expansion is the relocation of the hospital’s helipad to the top of the new tower.

The hospital, named for the late Monroe Carell Jr., is the region’s only full-service children’s hospital and currently operates 271 inpatient beds.  The new tower will be built atop the hospital’s Southeast façade, which is located at the corner of Children’s Way and Medical Center Drive. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2015 and will allow the inpatient capacity of the hospital to grow well beyond 300 beds.

Architectural rendering of the planned expansion to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

“As we recognize the seismic economic forces impacting hospitals and health systems across the nation, we have chosen to make a strategic investment to increase Vanderbilt’s support for the unique health care needs of children throughout the region,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The space and programs created in this expansion will allow Children’s Hospital to catapult forward as a national leader in health care, research and clinical training.”

Since Children’s Hospital opened in February 2004, the demand for its unique services has surpassed all projections. During fiscal year 2013, approximately 225,000 patients were seen in Children’s clinics and the hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Department cared for nearly 55,000 children. Nearly 15,000 of these children were admitted as inpatients, and came from 48 states and the District of Columbia.

*The first new beds in this tower will add capacity necessary to care for premature babies and other critically ill children. There can be no greater mission than to provide the resources necessary to give these children the very best chance for survival and the optimal start to life,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “This expansion continues Vanderbilt’s long-held tradition to provide our patients and their families the finest possible healing environment.”

In May 2012 the hospital opened a $30 million, 30,000-square-foot, 33 bed expansion that created capacity for additional acute care, surgical and neonatal intensive care services. The 2012 expansion allowed the hospital to expand its Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, as well as its Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care and Congenital Heart Disease program. Children’s Hospital remains the only hospital in Middle Tennessee to offer these highly specialized services.

“The need for this construction reflects an ever-increasing demand for the diverse array of services provided by our faculty and staff. Patients, families and referring physicians recognize that Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital provides the highest quality of care in an optimal environment for both the most simple and most complex medical conditions that can affect children of all ages. This expansion will facilitate the growth we feel is necessary to continue to meet this demand,” said Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, the James C. Overall Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatrician-in-Chief for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.

With 425 full-time faculty physicians trained in 30 pediatric medical and surgical specialties, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is the region’s only provider for a comprehensive array of child health services. Vanderbilt trains 43 percent of all pediatricians practicing in Tennessee, and is a key training and research center for children’s health specialists across the nation.

“Vanderbilt’s support for this expansion mirrors the vision held by the Carell family to provide internationally renowned health care services for children throughout our region,” said John W. Brock III, M.D., the Monroe Carell Jr. Chair and professor of Urologic Surgery, director of the Division of Pediatric Urology and Surgeon-in-Chief for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. “The additional space created through this project will increase our capacity to impact patient care by enhancing our ability to recruit the very best and brightest clinicians, researchers and physicians-in-training.”

The 11-story Doctors’ Office Tower, adjoining Children’s Hospital, provides space for a vast array of the hospital’s highly specialized services unique in the region, from advanced fetal diagnostic services to dedicated pediatric cancer care, heart care, gastroenterology, neurology and urology.
“This investment by the University is a significant commitment to children’s health. It further highlights the confidence that Tennessee families and community pediatricians have in our world-class services and care,” said Luke Gregory, CEO of Children’s Hospital.

Millions of children and families have passed through the doors of Children’s Hospital since it opened in February 2004. Patients are referred by the more than 300 community pediatricians throughout Tennessee and surrounding states who coordinate and partner in the care of their patients at the hospital.

“The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt offers the only comprehensive palette of pediatric sub-specialists and surgeons for our patients during admissions or procedures. We in the community have come to expect that type of superior care for our patients. As our community grows, the proposed tower expansion will help make possible the continued excellent care our patients receive at Vanderbilt,” said Timothy Eidson, M.D., a pediatrician with Rivergate Pediatrics and president of the Cumberland Pediatric Foundation.

In 2013, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt was again named among the nation’s top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in their annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. It is the only children’s hospital in Middle Tennessee to receive this distinction, and achieved national rankings in nine specialty programs, leading all of Tennessee and four contiguous states. Vanderbilt has been celebrated in U.S. News every year since the inception of the publication’s pediatric rankings, now in its seventh year.