Healthcare :: Univ. of Michigan Opens New $215M Center for Heart & Vascular Care

Every year, tens of thousands of men and women from every county of Michigan and around the country turn to the University of Michigan Health System for advanced care for heart disease, blood vessel disorders and strokes. The number of visits for that care has nearly doubled in the last decade.

Now, those patients will have a stunning new destination for most of their appointments, tests, procedures, operations and overnight stays: A new U-M Cardiovascular Center building that will receive its first patients on Monday, June 11. A grand-opening celebration will be held on the afternoon of Thursday, June 7.

The new building, located at the heart of the U-M medical campus, will provide one-stop access to most of the University?s adult heart and vascular care ? and allow U-M specialists from different disciplines to work together as never before.

The five-story, 350,000-square-foot facility stands on the former site of U-M?s historic Old Main hospital, at the corner of Ann and Observatory Streets. Skybridges and tunnels connect it to University Hospital and C.S. Mott Children?s Hospital.

Built over three years at a cost of $215 million, the center includes 48 newly licensed inpatient beds, eight operating rooms, 11 procedure rooms, dozens of rooms for outpatient visits and diagnostic tests, and offices for hundreds of doctors and staff.

One of its most striking features is a cylindrical, glass-enclosed atrium on the building?s all-glass western side. Spanning all five stories, the atrium has a winter garden and caf? at its base, and provides access to outdoor gardens, an auditorium and a patient library. Balconies on several floors of the building overlook the atrium, thereby using natural light as both a healing element and an energy-saving feature.

In addition to being a hub for some of the nation?s most advanced patient care, the new building will advance the training of new cardiovascular professionals and the continuing education of physicians and others already in practice.

?Our faculty and staff are working to transform the detection, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases in our own patients and patients everywhere, and this building will give them the best location to pursue that goal,? says Robert Kelch, M.D., U-M executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the U-M Health System. ?These efforts have a special urgency because of the tremendous burden that our state, and our nation, face from cardiovascular disease ? a burden that will only increase in the future as a direct effect of the obesity epidemic.?

Funding for the building?s design and construction came from UMHS reserves and bonds issued under the Health System?s high bond rating, as well as from donations. No state funding was used.

The building was designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott, of Boston, and built by hundreds of Michigan construction workers under the direction of the U-M Architecture, Engineering and Construction Department and the project?s general contractor, Barton Malow Company of Southfield, MI.

Approximately 500 part-time and full-time jobs, many of them for nurses and allied-health professionals, were created to prepare for the opening of the building.

The Cardiovascular Center is led by four physician directors ? cardiologists Kim Eagle, M.D. and David Pinsky, M.D, cardiac surgeon Richard Prager, M.D. and vascular surgeon James Stanley, M.D. ? and chief administrative officer Linda Larin, FACHE, MBA. This unique shared-leadership model echoes the team-oriented spirit of the Cardiovascular Center, which was founded in September 2000 as a ?virtual? center based in shared goals and resources.

In preparation for the move to the new building, hundreds of physicians, nurses, and other staff used the principles of ?Lean Thinking? ? adapted from Toyota manufacturing practices ? to re-imagine the way they work together. This process helped them map out every step in patients? care, and look for opportunities to reduce wasted effort, and to cut waiting times and redundancy.

Not all of that care will take place in the new building. Adult heart, vascular and stroke patients will continue to receive emergency care in the main Emergency Department, and some will recover from surgery or health crises such as stroke in University Hospital. Advanced CT, MRI and other imaging will continue to be provided in University Hospital and at outpatient centers in Ann Arbor and Canton. The cardiac rehabilitation center and outpatient clinic at Domino?s Farms will stay in place, as will the Venous Disease clinic in Livonia and adult cardiology clinics around Michigan.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Congenital Heart Center, one of the nation?s top centers for heart care in newborns, infants, children and teens, will continue to provide its care in Mott Children?s Hospital.

To make the building more ?approachable?, only its upper three stories are visible from the street, rising above a circular driveway and valet parking. The other two clinical floors, a support-functions floor and a 465-space parking garage, were built below street level, against a hillside.

The building?s design incorporates many curved surfaces and walls, and warm wood paneling. The 24 inpatient rooms are all private, with barrier-free showers and a sleeping chair or sofa for visitors. Even the rooms where patients will be prepared for, and recover from, minimally invasive procedures are private. And patients, family members, and medical staff alike can find solace and peace in several ?quiet rooms? placed throughout the building, as well as the gardens.

But for all the soothing and welcoming touches that the building boasts, it also has some of the most advanced technologies and medical design features in the country. In all, $44 million worth of major medical equipment has been purchased for the new center, while other recently purchased equipment has been moved over from University Hospital to the new building.

For instance, one of the suites where heart-rhythm specialists will treat irregular heartbeats has been built entirely without magnetic metals, to allow the team to use a magnetically guided probe to study the heart?s electrical activity. The eight operating rooms all have advanced equipment suspended from the ceilings to allow for ease of movement. The interventional suites have digital imaging systems for catheter-based procedures, and one suite has its own 64-slice CT scanner.

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