Ascension’s Via Christi Health continues to move forward with its $50 million renovation of Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph — with remodeling of outpatient space now complete and the first phase of remodeling of hospital space underway.
Via Christi’s partial-day programs and psychiatric residency moved earlier this month from their East Orme location to Via Christi medical office building at 1515 S. Clifton, where they were joined by Via Christi Clinic Behavioral Health, which opened in temporary space one block north earlier this year.
Construction is now underway on the next phase — Behavioral Health’s dedicated, state-of-the-art space on the hospital’s 6th and 7th floors. In addition, a $12.5 million renovation of the hospital’s exterior will be undertaken concurrent with the interior renovations.
When Project Renewal is complete in late 2018, it will include:
- Conversion of the hospital’s 5th-floor medical-surgical units to private patient rooms —complementing the large, private labor and delivery rooms and renovation that has already taken place throughout St. Joseph’s 4th-floor NewLife Center
- Expanded on-call space for family medicine, surgery and psychiatry residents doing rotations at the hospital
- A therapeutic recreational center with open-air space for adolescent and adult behavioral health patients
It also will include a Psychiatric Observation Unit on the hospital’s lower level, which was added after the initial announcement of the project. It is being designed to serve as a calm and healing environment where a patient’s behavioral health crisis can be de-escalated with immediate medication and therapeutic intervention, helping reduce the need for an inpatient admission.
“Getting to play a role in renovating our hospital’s physical environment so that it’s designed to support a full complement of family and behavioral healthcare services is a tremendous opportunity for everyone involved,” said Laurie Labarca, who serves as St. Joseph’s hospital president. “It is exciting to see months of careful planning begin to take shape.”
Psychiatrist Moneeshindra Mittal, MD, medical director for Via Christi Behavioral Health, agreed, noting that the consolidation of inpatient and outpatient space and the new care model will significantly enhance behavioral health — an important component of family care.
It also is proving helpful with recruitment, Mittal said, noting that Via Christi Clinic has been successful in recruiting three much-needed psychiatric specialists to Wichita: Christi L. Leach, MD, who specializes in geriatric psychiatry, began seeing patients in May; Walter Kalu, MD, began his duties as a psychiatric hospitalist on July 5; and Larry Mitnaul, MD, a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry who joined Via Christi on Aug. 1.
“This is just one piece of a renovation that will further our ability to provide the right care at the right time and in the best possible environment for patients of all ages and health needs,” said Labarca.
About Via Christi Health
In Kansas, Ascension’s Via Christi Health operates nine hospitals and 75 other sites of care and employs more than 6,000 associates. Across the state, Via Christi provided more than $77.8 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2016. Serving Kansas for more than 135 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.viachristi.org