Cox Medical Center Branson broke ground September 25, 2013 on a new 60,000-square-foot construction and renovation project that, once complete, will provide patients and staff with access to a new emergency department, expanded coronary care unit (CCU) and more.
In January, when the then-Skaggs Regional Medical Center became a part of the CoxHealth System, the partnership included a promise by CoxHealth to invest in the hospital to better serve the residents of Taney and Stone counties. Since that time many behind-the-scenes investments have been made, including physician recruitment, equipment purchases, and building maintenance. Now, the most visible sign of progress is underway.
“This project will help us meet the growing needs of those who need us,” said William Mahoney, President and CEO of Cox Medical Center Branson. “It’s a statement of stability and confidence in our community.”
The existing Medical Plaza Two building will be demolished to make way for the new three-floor, 42,000 square foot addition to the hospital and renovation of 18,000 square feet of space within the existing structure. Once complete, the construction will include, in addition to the emergency department and expanded intensive care area, a third floor shell of space to allow for future expansion.
The emergency department will take up 31,000 square feet and will include 32 private exam and treatment rooms, eight observation beds, and will offer easy access to the existing imaging and laboratory departments at Cox Branson. Built in 1992, the ED started with just four exam rooms. Renovations in 2004 created a total of 21 exam rooms.
The current ED serves 37,000 patients every year. The new ED is being built with future growth in mind. Providers will be able to care for 55,000 - 60,000 patients each year in this space. Improved flow will allow for quicker patient access to services.
“Branson is a growing community and the number of patients we serve is also increasing. The expansion of our ED and CCU will allow us to expedite the treatment of our patients, and get them back to enjoying the many exciting amenities our community has to offer,” said Mahoney.
The expanded CCU will be on the second floor of the new structure and will connect to the hospital. It will include 20 private rooms, plus a large, comfortable waiting area for families. The current CCU/ICU has 14 patient beds.
The project has a $30.8 million price tag, financed in part by an April bond issuance – the same issuance funding the new tower construction at Cox South in Springfield.
“We know that as time goes by more patients will need our care, and we must be ready,” said Steve Edwards, CoxHealth president and CEO. “To meet that need, we must expand – and given the historically low interest rates at the time of our bond issuance, we knew there would likely never be another time when expansion would be so affordable.”
In fact, an examination of the 30-year trend of interest rates shows that CoxHealth financed this project at a time when rates were near the lowest in history. “Rates have increased 1.5 points since we issued our bonds,” said Edwards. “If we financed today, the bond issuance for our projects in Springfield and Branson would cost $42 million more due to the rate increase.”
Departments that were housed in the Medical Plaza Two building have been relocated and traffic flow around the campus altered. The overall project includes changes to campus access and navigation. A loop road is being constructed that will provide better access for patients and visitors.