Rush un­veils bioter­ror­ism pre­pared­ness ad­di­tion

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - Ashok Selvam

Rush un­veils bioter­ror­ism pre­pared­ness area

The new bioter­ror­ism pre­pared­ness area at Rush Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Chicago, evokes scenes ripped straight from the script of a Hol­ly­wood sci-fi block­buster. The area was de­signed to help deal with a cat­a­strophic event, one that could lead to mass ca­su­al­ties. Con­struc­tion be­gan in Septem­ber 2008, and the bioter­ror­ism pre­pared­ness area sits on the ground of floor of new $654 mil­lion, 14-story ad­di­tion sched­uled to open in Jan­uary. Hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials re­cently un­veiled the bioter­ror­ism pre­pared­ness area and the rest of the build­ing to the me­dia and dig­ni­taries, in­clud­ing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

As tour guides ush­ered guests from the brightly sun­lit atrium, they moved into the ad­vanced emer­gency re­sponse area, which in­cludes 60 pa­tient bays. An ex­panded emer­gency depart­ment is part of the area, and al­lows the hos­pi­tal to best serve a mas­sive wave of pa­tients dur­ing a bi­o­log­i­cal, chem­i­cal or ra­di­o­log­i­cal cri­sis. Rush of­fi­cials added that it’s the first such bioter­ror­ism pre­pared­ness fa­cil­ity in the coun­try. In the war against hos­pi­tal-ac­quired in­fec­tions, clean air is an ally, and part of the ED is a state-of-the-art ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem de­signed to keep con­tam­i­nants away from pa­tients ly­ing in the cen­ter of the pa­tient bay. The ven­ti­la­tion cir­cu­lates what of­fi­cials dub “op­er­at­ing room qual­ity air” into the cen­ter of the room and then to­ward the walls. The ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem also can seal off con­ta­gions, con­fin­ing them to the ED and pre­vent­ing their spread.

Rush be­gan a fundrais­ing cam­paign in 2004 and raised more than $375 mil­lion to­ward the con­struc­tion of the new 830,000square-foot tower ad­ja­cent to its main build­ing. The rest of the tab was paid with a mix of cash, $280 mil­lion of debt fi­nanc­ing and var­i­ous grants, in­clud­ing a $10 mil­lion cap­i­tal grant from the state of Illi­nois to build the bioter­ror­ism pre­pared­ness area.

Con­struc­tion took more than 4,200 full­time work­ers, and the tower is part of a 10year, $1 bil­lion cam­pus trans­for­ma­tion plan. Emanuel lauded the de­vel­op­ment and job cre­ation for the area.

Though Rush of­fi­cials said clin­i­cians de­liv­ered ex­cel­lent care in the hos­pi­tal, which was founded in 1837, they said the ag­ing fa­cil­ity was in need of mod­ern­iza­tion. “Rush is ven­er­a­ble; it’s one day older than the city of Chicago,” said Su­san Crown, the hos­pi­tal board vice chair­woman. “And sev­eral years ago we re­al­ized our fa­cil­i­ties were un­for­tu­nately com­mu­ni­cat­ing that vin­tage.”

The build­ing, set to open in Jan­uary, also is cer­ti­fied as “Gold” by the U.S. Green Build­ing Coun­cil’s Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign pro­gram, or LEED.

“We’re re­ally proud to be the first hos­pi­tal in Chicago to achieve that,” Crown said.

The new bioter­ror­ism fa­cil­ity in­cludes 60 pa­tient bays, as well as a state-of-the-art ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem.

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