CAMC board addresses construction-related parking issues

Officials are taking steps to alleviate parking issues at Charleston Area Medical Center’s Memorial Hospital as construction begins to build additional floors above the surgical area to accommodate more patient beds.

“In order to do that a crane goes up in mid-July to lift materials,” said Dale Wood, chief quality officer. “A large crane will be in front of the hospital for a period of time. Parking will be difficult because the Memorial campus is already tight on parking.”

Parking spaces near the work area will be will be lost as a safety precaution. However, about 80 spaces will be opened to patients near the Heart and Vascular Center. Additional parking for staff will be available on a lot near Aladdin’s Restaurant on Chesterfield Avenue where a shuttle service will be offered to employees. CAMC is in the process of acquiring that piece of property and the hospital already has vans for transporting staff, Wood said.

Shuffling parking was discussed on Wednesday morning during the regular meeting of the CAMC Board of Trustees.

Construction at Memorial is slated for completion during the first quarter of 2016, Wood said. Three floors will be built above the surgical area with two levels used for patient floors, he said. During the first quarter of 2016, 48 patient beds will be added, including 16 for critical care and 32 for general medical care. All rooms will be private, he said.

Meanwhile, construction on the new cancer center is targeted for completion by spring of 2015 on a site that was once Watt Powell Park property. The center will replace the current and crowded David Lee Cancer Center on the first floor of Memorial Hospital.

In other business, the hospital is doing well financially, according to a report from Steve Bell, president of finance for CAMC.

“After a difficult two months we seem to be back on course” financially, he said.

At previous meetings officials have said a deficit could be attributed to the water crisis as well as a cold winter that kept children out of school for a good portion of January and, therefore, not together in classrooms spreading illnesses.

Operational income was boosted by the acquisition of the Teays Valley facility, he said.

University of Charleston President Ed Welch, who heads the quality committee, said infections from insertion of central lines should be zero but they are not and asked if other methods of administering medication could be used in some cases. Another area of concern is pressure ulcers with closer monitoring needed for skin conditions, he said.

However, overall quality for the first quarter has been good, he said.

“We are doing better but other people are as well,” he said. “We raise our target to get better.”

He added that during the water crisis there was no difference in infection rates or patient satisfaction with care.

The facility is now being accredited through Det Norske Veritas, a Norwegian-based company. DNV looked at “dozens and dozens” of things before reporting 22 non-conformities, he said. Improvement projects are being developed.

He a said a multi-disciplinary team made up of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other staff work together to improve patient care and steps are being taken to oversee how complex medications are administered to avoid any adverse reactions.

CAMC is using a new blood management program to offer better care for patients and cut down on the number of transfusions, officials said. As a result, about $1 million is saved each year, Wood said.

He noted that blood is made up of many parts and new processes are in place to determine whether it is necessary to use whole blood, which has higher risks with complications.

At this month’s meeting, two “Heart and Soul” awards were given for going above the call of duty in patient care.

David Aultz, a day shift attendant in the emergency room at Women and Children’s Hospital, was recognized for spending several hours with a pediatric patient who arrived without a guardian.

Another award went to the entire unit of the oncology staff on 5 South at Memorial where a patient with dementia stayed until she could be placed in a long-term care facility. The patient had very little and the staff gave her reading materials, snacks, new gowns, and a bag with her initials to hold her belongings.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.

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