Sinai completes phase with dedication of 2 new floors Emergency roomgroundbreaking is next week

September 25, 1996|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

With the dedication today of two new floors on its Blaustein Building, Sinai Hospital marks the completion of one phase of its capital campaign. And with the groundbreaking for its new emergency room next week, it marks the start of phase two.

In all, the campaign plans to raise about $60 million over about six years. (The completion date for the current phase has not yet been announced.)

Along the way, Sinai will create more private rooms (although no more total beds), add luxury suites and an emergency room with amenities including "a professional concierge," said Warren Green, Sinai's CEO.

Green said that when he arrived in 1993, "Sinai hadn't undertaken a capital campaign since the '50s, when it raised the money to open this facility," a 67-acre campus off Northern Parkway just west of the Jones Falls Expressway. Before its current campus opened in 1959, Sinai was located near Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore.

Now that it has begun renovating, "we believe the process of upgrading and refining this physical plant will go on forever," Green said. "To some extent, it's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge -- by the time you finish, it's time to start again."

While some of the construction and renovation is driven by changes in technology, hospitals now find themselves competing for patients by offering amenities. Administrators speak of offering "hotel services."

"Our consumer expectations change," said Jane Durney Crowley, CEO of Bon Secours Hospital in West Baltimore, which also recently has undergone a face-lift and modernized its emergency room. "Twenty years ago, people expected, if they were going to have a baby, to have a roommate and to be in something that looked like a hospital room. Now, they expect a private room -- it is a very private event -- and they expect it to look like a bedroom at home."

Another reason for renovations, Crowley said, is meeting regulatory requirements in the competitive area of "post-acute" services, which are being provided in skilled nursing homes and, now, in hospitals as well. These are services for patients recovering from surgery, injury or illness, who still need care but no longer with the intensity (and cost) of an acute hospital.

Both of these trends are visible at Sinai. One of the two floors it dedicates today is a rehabilitation unit. And the other floor, which houses the Cancer Institute and a women's surgery section, includes luxury suites with a sitting room, large-screen TV, VCR, safe and phone in the bathroom.

And in planning its emergency room, Green said, Sinai "had preliminary discussions with Nordstrom," the department store known for its service. "We asked them, 'If you were going to run an emergency department, how would you do it?' "

How Sinai will be doing it includes private waiting rooms for all emergency patients -- Green describes them as "a mini-apartment with amenities" -- and the concierge, who will help patients cope with problems such as transporting family members to the hospital.

"For most hospitals, emergency rooms are major feeders," Green said. "Just from a pure business standpoint, it makes sense to make them as comfortable and attractive as you can."

Pub Date: 9/25/96

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