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2003 Press Releases
Morton Plant Hospital Announces Major Expansion Plan

CLEARWATER, Fla. (July 16, 2003) - Morton Plant Hospital continues its 87-year commitment to improving the health of the community with an $84-million master site plan to upgrade the hospital's facilities and enhance its health care services. Included in the master plan are a new heart hospital, increased number of private rooms, integration of all women's services into one center, expansion of surgical suites and expansion of radiology and endoscopy services.

"We are moving forward to ensure that we continue our high standard of care well into the future," said Philip K. Beauchamp, president and chief executive officer of Morton Plant Hospital. "Our master plan is based on in-depth research to identify the services needed to meet the community's future health care needs. We will be adding advanced medical technology and creating highly focused clinical specialty centers."

Divided into several phases, Morton Plant's master plan includes construction of new buildings, as well as reconstruction and expansion of existing facilities. "Morton Plant has been on this site since 1916 and while we have grown into a nationally recognized hospital, it is time to upgrade and improve our physical plant and services," said Beauchamp. The entire project is expected to be complete in 2007.

"Part of the expansion plan will focus on integrating services more compactly into designated areas of the existing hospital. Currently, specific services areas such as cardiac care or women's services are not aligned and patients, visitors, team members and physicians must traverse various floors and wings of the hospital to access these areas," said Hal Ziecheck, chief operating officer, Morton Plant Hospital. "Integrating services will also give us additional space to expand other hospital services."

A major component of Morton Plant's expansion is the new heart hospital. "Since 1975, Morton Plant has been a leader in heart consistently bringing new procedures and treatments to the Tampa Bay area. By creating a hospital focused solely on cardiac care, we will continue to be a pioneer," said Ziecheck.

Attached to the existing south side of the main hospital, the heart hospital will feature a separate reception area, five new open heart operating rooms, seven cardiac catheterization rooms, 21 critical cardiac patient rooms and dedicated family waiting areas. "Heart surgeries from open heart to cardiac catheterizations, recovery and post-surgical care will be provided in one contiguous space of the heart hospital. Patients and their families will be able to stay within one convenient facility for inpatient treatment," said Ziecheck.

Morton Plant conducts more open heart and interventional procedures than any other hospital in Pinellas County. Nearly 900 open heart surgeries are performed annually at Morton Plant Hospital. In April, the hospital was the first on Florida's West Coast to implant the new drug-eluting stents. Other firsts in cardiac care include:

* first hospital in the county to have an electrophysiology program for the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias

* first to perform coronary angioplasty and valvuloplasty

* first to perform minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass.

To prepare for construction of a new heart hospital and new surgical suites, the Roebling, Morrow, 1953 and 1941 buildings will be removed. Services currently provided in those buildings will be relocated to other parts of the hospital. Removal of the buildings is projected to begin this summer.

Another part of Morton Plant's master site plan, expansion of the outpatient surgery center, is nearly complete. The next phase is construction of the new four-story orthopaedic/neurosciences pavilion and parking garage at the southwest corner of Jeffords and Pinellas streets announced in March.

"One issue of keen interest to patients is that we will be adding more than 100 private beds," said Beauchamp. "Other improvements will include relocating loading and delivery areas to the rear of the hospital, improvements to parking and access and improvements to the kitchen and cafeteria." The hospital hopes to raise a major portion of the construction cost through private donations.

The architect for phase one of Morton Plant's expansion is Harvard Jolly Clees Toppe and the contractor is Brassfield and Gorrie.

Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility dedicated to improving the health of all it serves through community-owned health services that set the standard for high quality, compassionate care.

In 2002, Morton Plant was named one of America's Top 50 Hospitals, according to AARP Modern Maturity magazine and a 100 Top Hospital in the "Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success" study for the fourth consecutive year. Morton Plant was also named to the 100 Top Hospital Overall list in 2002. In 2000, HCIA-Sachs (now Solucient) named Morton Plant as the only hospital in the country to achieve 100 Top Hospital status in four categories - cardiovascular, stroke, orthopaedic and overall. In June 2003, Morton Plant Hospital was the second hospital in Florida to receive "Baby Friendly" status from the World Health Organization/UNICEF.

In 2001, Morton Plant Hospital joined forces with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, Tampa to provide research and services for cancer patients. Morton Plant also offers a family practice residency program in affiliation with the University of South Florida's School of Medicine. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla., 727-462-7000.


Contact: Beth Hardy

Morton Plant News Bureau

727-298-6199 Phone

727-419-4471 Pager