By Mary Alys Cherry
The Bay Area has a brand new hospital and a very handsome one, too. The $300 million Bay Area Regional Medical Center is so pretty, in fact, that on entering a visitor might think he is at the front desk of a five-star hotel.
But it doesn’t stop there. While most of the rest of the building looks very much like a hospital, there are many homey touches to make patients and their families feel welcome – elegant oil paintings, colorful furniture and flower arrangements in waiting rooms and all around the hospital.
Just ask any of the 700 who were there Friday, July 18 for the grand opening celebration with U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) who was a special guest of the hospital developer, Monzer Hourani. In his remarks, he called Hourani “one of the world’s greatest engineers.”
Webster Mayor Pro-tem Alexandra Dietrich presented Keys to the City and a space shuttle memento to Hourani and Hatch, along with the hospital CEO, Dr. Michael Lyons and Senior Vice President Santiago Mendoza Jr. Congressman Pete Olson and Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell also addressed the crowd.
Created by some 250 Bay Area physicians to give Bay Area Houston residents access to advanced technologies and the highest standards of health care, the new facility opened to patients on Monday, July 21, at the corner of Blossom Street and Highway 3 in Webster’s thriving “medical center of the south.” Already some 336 physicians have applied for privileges at the hospital.
“It is a privilege and honor to open this new hospital whose mission is to deliver high quality health care services for Houston’s Bay Area. It is especially gratifying to know that the opening of this facility has been eagerly anticipated not only by physicians, but also by all of the Bay Area communities,” Dr. Lyons said as he proudly showed off some of the very latest in medical equipment during guided tours of the new facility, which he called “a healing place.”
Dr. Lyons brings years of healthcare administration and educational experience to Bay Area Regional Medical Center. Previously, he served as president, CEO and a member of the Texas Gulf Coast Medical Group Board of Directors. He also has served as a clinical assistant professor with Baylor College of Medicine, University of North Texas Health Science Center and University of Texas Medical Branch.
BARMC’s leadership team also includes Chief Operating Officer Ben Casmer, Chief Nursing Officer Susan White, Senior Vice President – Quality Carol Dzierski, Chief Financial Officer Mike Metts, Senior Vice President, Human Resources Lynn Clements and Mendoza.
WILL EMPLOY 520
The hospital is expected to employ 520 people full-time with an annual estimated payroll of $36.2 million during fiscal year 2014. The total economic impact on the Bay Area community is estimated at $101.3 million for fiscal year 2014 and $128 million for fiscal year 2018.
The nine-story, 375,000-square-foot structure was built by the Medistar Corp. with hurricane resistant glass that can withstand up to 225-mile-per-hour winds and is designed to accommodate about 250 private rooms on 11 floors when it is fully built out in future years. The adjoining six-story parking garage has spaces for approximately 675 parking spaces.
Initially, the hospital is opening five floors and will have 104 private patient suites, all on the outside of the building, so patients have a view, along with 22 Intensive Care Rooms. Design on Phase II will begin this October with work on floors 6-9 expected to start in September 2015. When completed, that will add an additional 98 beds for a total of 202. A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Obstetrics services also will be added.
Lyons said the hospital will support these priority services: cardiology/cardiothoracic services, orthopedics, general surgery, emergency care, Internal medicine, heart failure clinic, transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), nuclear medicine with fluoroscopy, inpatient dialysis, physical therapy and sports medicine, occupational medicine, pain management, pharmacy, clinical lab, and radiology — diagnostic with X-ray, MRI, CT Scan.