Hospitals ramp up area health care services: Baylor

The expansion of Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine creates bragging rights beyond the benefit of more heath care services closer to home.

The two-year expansion project makes the hospital among the largest in the Baylor Health Care System of 30 owned and affiliated hospitals, based on the number of patient beds.

"We're third behind Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and Baylor All Saints in Fort Worth," said Steve Newton, president of the west region of Baylor Health Care System and president of Grapevine hospital.

The new $90 million patient tower debuted earlier this month with 40 new beds, bringing the total to more than 300. The tower includes space for an additional 68 beds.

The expansion, which came in about $10 million below the original estimate of $100.5 million, adds a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a cardiovascular center, space for four new operating rooms and nine emergency department beds.

It also expands radiology and women's services.

Newton said the expansion is an important step toward meeting the medical care needs of a high-growth area now and into the future.

"We are very excited to fully serve the community and meet the needs of people of all ages," he said. "Area residents want access to specialized care in their community. Our expansion is part of providing that level of care."

Baylor officials said accessibility to the hospital will improve with completion in a few months of the DFW Connector through Grapevine and part of Southlake.

The non-profit hospital at 1650 W. College St. will have 17 access points, including direct access from the Hwy. 114 frontage road for the first time.

Emergency room traffic was flat this past year because of road construction but previous annual increases measured in the double digits, Newton said.

Level III NICU

The new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a Level III, the highest designation for care of premature and critically ill newborns. A pod design provides better privacy for families than glass or curtain dividers and demonstrates Baylor's family-centered care philosophy, officials said..

Another highlight, the new cardiovascular center, allows patients to keep the same room during their hospital stay rather than moving to different treatment areas as care levels change.

The hospital, which has been part of the Baylor system since 1981, cares for about 45,000 patients a year.

Baylor Health Care System has signed an agreement of intent to merge with Scott & White Healthcare based in Temple and expects to reach a definitive agreement in coming weeks, said spokeswoman Susan Hall.

The merger, which would require federal review, would create the largest nonprofit health care organization in Texas.