The National Institutes of Health awarded $3 billion for an $8.8 billion hospital renovation program in Dallas, and now that the first phase of the $5 billion plan is underway, the Dallas Children’s Hospital and other Dallas hospitals are preparing for a surge of visits as the new school year approaches.
DCCH is the largest health system in Texas, with roughly 6,000 employees and over 300,000 patients, according to the organization’s website.
The Dallas Childrens Hospital’s new school renovation program will begin as soon as the next school year begins, but the facility will not be open until the first week of February, said Jennifer E. Sperling, president and CEO of the Dallas Alliance of Hospitality, Retail and Hospitality Associations.
“We want to make sure that we are prepared for our students to come in the fall and have a chance to see our patients, get a good education,” Sperting said.
There are no immediate plans to add additional services to the Dallas Health Center, but there are plans to expand and expand them.
One of the main objectives of the renovation is to make the new hospital feel more like a home.
In the old hospital, the patient’s bed was a large room that had a sliding door, and the nurse would have to walk in to the patient room to open the door, said Sarah C. Jones, chief executive officer of the DCCH.
“In the new version of the hospital, we want to feel like we are in their living room and we want that to feel more real,” Jones said.
The new hospital will have four classrooms, one for the nursing staff, one classroom for the pediatric intensive care unit, a large suite with a movie theater, a fitness center and an observation lounge.
At the heart of the new renovations will be a new floor plan that will incorporate more amenities for nurses, said Chris T. Brown, president of the nonprofit Hospitality Institute of Texas.
As part of the project, the hospital will build a new video game center, a movie theatre, a coffee shop, a cafeteria and an office building, among other additions, Brown said.
Brown said the project will allow the hospital to offer additional health services and training to employees, including nurses.
While the new facility will be much larger than what the old one had, Brown noted that the changes will be minimal.
He said that the new structure will allow for increased efficiency.
The existing hospital had about 1,300 beds and only about 1 percent of the beds were used, Brown added.
Sperling said the hospital has also been working with the Dallas Department of Public Safety on a “big change” that will make it more efficient.
The new project is expected to cost between $2.4 billion and $2 billion, Spering said.
“We are trying to ensure that we have the capacity and the capability to do what we do best,” Sferling said.
The hospital is expecting to start operating in the new year.
More than 70 percent of patients at the Dallas hospital are uninsured, but Brown said that is a change that will be beneficial to patients.
It will also provide new opportunities for patients to earn a salary, and Brown said it will allow patients to spend more time with their families.
Dallas has been looking to move away from private hospitals for some time, and while the hospital is not the only hospital in the state, it is the second-largest, with over 1,800 beds, according the Texas Hospital Association.
The Dallas Health Department plans to hire more nurses in 2018, with about 50 nurses hired in the past year, according TxDOT.
That will bring the total number of nurses in the department to more than 1,400, and more than 20 percent of those nurses will be from outside the state.