To give you some idea how busy Advocate Christ Medical Center is 24/7, 365, there were at least three ambulances with flashing orbs in my rearview mirror tearing west down 95th Street on my way to the Feb. 18 sneak preview of the new, state-of-the-art Outpatient Pavilion.
Two years in the making, and several more years prior of vetting and designing, the long-awaited, $202 million Outpatient Pavilion will accept its first patients on March 31. The building adds 325,000 square feet to meet the increased needs of the community and is destined to make Oak Lawn a destination for regional healthcare needs.
The 9-story facility is, in a word, stunning, from its alluring, high-tech glass facade on 95th Street, to the many amenities inside all designed to make patients whole and well.
“Up to now patients would come to the main campus and start looking for outpatient services, which are scattered all over the campus,” Kenneth Lukhard said, president of Advocate Christ Medical Center. “This puts it all under one roof for people who have trouble walking. Instead of walking a quarter-mile this way, or a half-mile that way, it’s all right here in this vertical building. It makes the care so much better for patients. They will just love it.”
Housed within the 325,000-square-foot Outpatient Pavilion are medical center’s three specialty institutes -- Cancer, Neurosciences and Heart and Vascular specialty institutes.
The new facility features 12 state-of-the-art operating rooms and seven GI/endoscopy procedure areas equipped with the latest technology. The diagnostic imaging capabilities are unprecedented in the area, including a new PET/CT service that offers tumor tracking.
The diagnostic imaging equipment ensures the highest quality images that lead to quicker diagnosis and treatment, but more importantly patient exposure to radiation will be minimized.
For example, says Kathy Kleinhoffer, MRI coordinator at Advocate Christ, patients can choose their own soothing nature scenes on an iPad in the MRI Caring Suite, before undergoing an MRI in the much roomier 1.5 Tesla.
“If you’ve ever seen those magnets that haul cars at a junkyard, the magnets inside the Tesla are thousands and thousands of times stronger than that,” Kleinhoffer said. “The magnet is 30,000 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field.”
Advocate Christ, which started as a five-story community hospital in 1961, treats more than 76,000 patients annually. It has been rated by U.S. News and World as among the nation’s leading providers for cardiology and heart surgery and for geriatric medicine.
Lukhard said the new outpatient facility allows the medical center to expand its surgical and imaging services to the the community.
“We turn away thousands of surgeries and thousands of imaging patients because it’s so backed up on the main campus,” Lukhard said.
The 12 surgical suites will also relieve the main hospital 26 operating rooms, which Lukhard says run from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
“This allows us to take all the outpatient surgery and move it here. It allows patients to get their surgery at 7 or 9 in the morning, instead of 9 o’clock at night,” he added.
The new facility also comes equipped with ample, built-in patient amenities, such as comfortable family and pediatric waiting rooms, a retail pharmacy, a Courtyard Café, and a tracking board that keeps families informed about loved ones undergoing surgery.
A sprawling, 1,800-square foot Gilda’s club occupies the ground level and offers cancer support services to parents and their families.
Area residents can get a first look at the Outpatient Pavilion during an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 1. Participants will have an opportunity to tour the facility and its eight medical floors, take advantage of free health screenings and enter to win an iPad. The Advocate Christ Outpatient Pavilion is located on 95th Street at Kilbourn Avenue, in Oak Lawn.
For more information about the open house or to rsvp, call 1-800-3-Advocate, or by visiting Advocate Health.