June 30, 2008 | The countdown to the opening of the new University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) hospital began June 30 with Day 200. Opening festivities are scheduled for Friday, Jan. 16, 2009.
Patients will be moved into the 540,000-square-foot facility in the days following the grand opening. Furnishings and equipment will be moved in beginning in late 2008.
The adjacent Psychiatric Research Institute, which will include education, research and clinical services, will be occupied in early December. Psychiatric outpatient services will start Dec. 8 with psychiatric inpatient services starting after the January 2009 hospital move.
“Work groups have been planning for the move for months, but firm dates are being set, and it’s something we must focus on now as the move approaches,” said Melissa Fontaine, chief operating officer of UAMS Medical Center. “The move is exciting, but it’s a very daunting task. There are a tremendous number of details to be worked through to ensure our patients receive adequate care up to, during and after the move.
“Because this type of move is so complex, we’ve contracted with Relocation Management Worldwide to help coordinate logistics,” she said. “They do this for hospitals all over the country, and they’re experts at it.”
Department managers completed a survey in June asking questions such as their preferred order of move; dependencies on other departments; needs for special security for infants, money, confidential files or drugs; and whether outside agencies such as ambulance companies or supply companies must be notified when the department moves. Survey responses will be used to develop timelines for each department’s move.
“We have committees working on everything from maps for patients and visitors to furniture, policy manuals, training transport teams and installing new equipment,” Fontaine said. “The amount of detail involved is staggering. For example, moving each patient involves correctly mapping their current hospital location to their location in the new hospital for phone service, medical records systems, pharmacy, visitor information and the nursing staff.”