LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – University Medical Center is adjusting to the growth in Southwest Lubbock by constructing a new 150 million dollar hospital. The ‘Health and Wellness Hospital’ will be near 110th St. and Slide Rd., replacing the old Sparkman’s Nursery location.
UMC CEO Mark Funderburk says the organization looked at everything from where healthcare will grow to the aging and movement of Lubbock’s population. He says some areas are growing faster than others, like Southwest Lubbock, and providers have to work to ensure timely access to healthcare. He says UMC is trying to meet a need already in the area and will be in the coming years.
“Think about how big Lubbock is going to become and the second loop [Loop 88], well it’s 20-25 minutes now to an ER, or a physician, or a cancer center. And if you can bring that down to a more convenient, accessible level, you can meet people where they are,” he said.
After two years of developing the plan for the new hospital, construction is underway. Funderburk says the 230,000 square foot facility will have ORs, imaging services, and an ER with 6 to 8 beds. The hospital will mainly focus on outpatient services. It will also have an outpatient cancer center for infusion chemotherapy overlooking a garden, office buildings for medical staff, and a wellness center. Funderburk says the wellness hospital won’t just be a gym but will be used for medical wellness tied to patients’ physicians and continuum of care.
“We’re really trying to offer something that honestly is preventive, and something that is consumer-friendly, and convenient, kind of in the backyard in a lot of the people that live out there. It’d be awfully nice to have, perhaps, your chemotherapy in a new hospital closer to your home than having to come here [the main campus] repetitively, day after day,” Funderburk said.
Funderburk says the title ‘Health and Wellness Hospital’ speaks differently than a hospital mostly consumed by beds. He says the new hospital also gives UMC the opportunity to partner with Texas Tech University to help support the main campus and its mission – education and charity. While the new hospital won’t have many beds because it will be used for outpatient services, the pandemic has taught the organization that they will inevitably have to add beds to the main campus. He says it meets a growing need in Southwest Lubbock while relieving some of the congestion at Texas Tech.
“It will relieve some of the, perhaps, the burden of volume that we have on this campus, as well as the ER. We will offset some of our ER volumes out there as well,” he said.
UMC is looking to staff the hospital with 200-225 new employees, spread across many disciplines, from imaging to surgery, to the ER, to rehab. Funderburk says that will be a challenge but something the hospital will overcome. He says the new hospital and equipment may be attractive to the staff coming straight out of school and as more people return to work as the pandemic lightens up.
“Just the different public areas, both internally and in the gardens behind it, we want to offer something that people will feel confident and comfortable and hopeful about,” he said.
Construction for the hospital is $126 million, and capital equipment will cost between $20-$25 million. Funderburk says that will mostly come from cash reserves, except for the cancer center, paid with philanthropy. The ‘Health and Wellness Hospital’ will open in December 2023.
UMC owns the property behind and to the south of the 110th St. and Slide Rd. location. Funderburk says that it could be used for an urgent care center.
UMC is also in the middle of constructing a primary care clinic near 98th St. and Frankford Ave. Funderburk says it will be for adults and children. He says behind the clinic, there will be two permanent drive-through clinics, where families can pull in, be seen, and tested, all from the comfort of their car. He says it reflects what the hospital learned through the pandemic. Funderburk believes it may be the first of its kind in Texas. The primary care clinic is set to open this summer.
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