Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is the latest Memphis hospital to announce expansion plans.
The hospital will file a certificate of need with the state of Tennessee in early 2016 for a new facility on the hospital’s campus, confirmed Meri Armour, CEO of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
Le Bonheur currently has 255 beds, most of which are typically full on any given day. The expansion would add between 34 and 37 new beds in a two-story addition, located at Le Bonheur’s Poplar and Dunlap entrance.
“One day last week, we had 254 kids in the hospital, nine kids were waiting to be admitted from the emergency department, four kids were waiting to be transferred from the outside and we had 11 surgical admissions,” Armour said. “It was a scramble to get it all done, but we made it happen.”
Armour said the hospital’s board approved the expansion last week. The certificate of need, design and architectural phase will occur in 2016. Construction would start in 2017 and be completed in 2018.
The budget for the expansion is projected around $55 million, Armour said.
But, in the near term, Le Bonheur is putting the finishing touches on an expansion into 100 Humphreys, which was previously the main office of the West Cancer Center. The building was vacated earlier this month when the West Cancer Center moved into its new facility at 7945 Wolf River Blvd.
The old, 55,000-square-foot building will become Le Bonheur Outpatient Center East and will include an imaging and diagnostics center and pediatric rehab services. The imaging center will have MRI, CT and ultrasound facilities and a pediatric anesthesia space for when children need to be sedated before an MRI.
“We’re calling it ‘mini-Le Bonheur’ because it’s a consolidation of clinics we’ve had in the east side community,” Armour said.
With the consolidation of the clinics, Le Bonheur is also opening a new emergency department in its Germantown location. Armour said the main hospital has had 90,000 emergency department visits this year. She sees it topping 100,000 next year with the addition of the Germantown department.
“Right now, we’re many days over our bed capacity in terms of what we can do,” Armour said. “As our reputation and the caliber of our medical staff expands, we hope Germantown can offset some business we have here. It’s a tsunami of kids.”