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$30-million in upgrades to boost St. Anthony's

The hospital will expand services for cardiac patients, women and emergency room visitors.

By SHARON L. BOND, Neighborhood Times Business Editor
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 13, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG -- A $30-million renovation is under way at St. Anthony's Health Care and will include new units dedicated to cardiac critical care and women's health, an upgraded oncology department and an expanded emergency room.

"This is the biggest renovation St. Anthony's has been through in probably 20 years," said Ford Kyes, chief operating officer and president of the hospital. "It's a big, big deal. It's an enormous investment."

Money for the renovation comes from bond sales and cash flow from BayCare, the health cooperative to which St. Anthony's belongs.

The hospital, at 1200 Seventh Ave. N, is not adding services but upgrading and bringing together types of services -- such as cardiac care -- to new, dedicated areas. St. Anthony's now has one cardiac catheterization lab, for example, and the renovation will add another. Plans include room for a third if needed.

"We wanted to upgrade everything," said Dana Novak, public relations and marketing manager. "It's a way to expand cardiac services for the community."

Construction of the 10-bed cardiac care unit on the third floor began in January and is scheduled to be completed in September. A cardiac catheterization lab and a telemetry unit for monitoring patients with heart problems will be started in June and should be completed in October.

The new units are being built in unused existing space, Novak said. The old obstetrics ward is one example of unused space. When St. Anthony's joined BayCare, Bayfront Medical was a member. Its proximity and strength in obstetrics resulted in St. Anthony's closing its obstetrics unit.

Bayfront now is out of BayCare, but Novak said it is "down the street" from St. Anthony's, so there is no need for obstetrics at St. Anthony's.

Plus, cardiac care is more a part of St. Anthony's mission, which is to provide health care for adults.

The 10-bed women's unit will expand as a result of community demand, doctors say. Construction on it also starts in June with completion in October.

The emergency room expansion includes an overnight observation area for patients who may not need to be admitted to the hospital. This will provide a way to keep both emergency room beds and hospital room beds free for those who need them.

St. Anthony's consists of east and west wings. The east wing has five floors on top of the ground floor; the west has six on top of the ground floor.

Each floor is being renovated, as is the hospital's exterior. Entrances will be added to the hospital and main lobby from the 1,200-vehicle garage.

The number of hospital beds, 405, will not change, Novak said, although the configuration of rooms on different floors could change.

As the baby boomer generation ages, more services will be needed at the downtown campus of St. Anthony's, Kyes said. Future construction on the campus could include a medical office building, he said.

The hospital also is extending its reach to other parts of the city. A $37-million outpatient center is being built in north St. Petersburg at the Carillon office park. Novak said St. Anthony's is looking south in the 54th Avenue S area, where it would like to establish an imaging center.

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