When discussions about a new hospital began at UAMS seven years ago, leading the way were Dick Pierson, who is vice chancellor for clinical programs and executive director of the UAMS Medical Center, and Melissa Fontaine, who is chief operating officer. Both oversaw the hiring of financial consultants and architects and coordinated with the design team, clinical departments and a steering committee that made it all work.
Why is a new UAMS hospital important to the people of Arkansas?
Dick Pierson: Over the last several years we’ve had to turn away patients simply because we didn’t have beds for them. The new hospital gives UAMS the capacity to help us fulfill our statewide mission to patients. In the meantime, UAMS is working to educate more health care professionals who can care for our aging population, and the new hospital will provide much-needed education space.
How will the hospital help UAMS provide comfort, hope and healing for its patients and their families?
Dick Pierson: From the time our guests walk through the front door, I think they’ll be moved by the open atrium and its abundant natural light. With all private patient rooms, no longer do patients have to worry about disturbing a roommate or vice versa. The spacious patient rooms include a sleeper sofa, and a large window offers panoramic views of Little Rock. The larger space also helps our caregivers to maneuver medical equipment and to assist patients. A uniform design of our patient floors helps our staff provide efficient, consistent care that’s reassuring to patients and their families.
What features make the new hospital building special?
Melissa Fontaine: Probably of most interest is that we now have all private rooms. We also have incorporated the very latest technology to improve efficiency and make treatments more convenient for patients. The hospital includes new space for equipment, teaching and patient comfort, and it is designed to adapt to changing times.
What lasting impressions do you hope the new hospital will leave for its patients and visitors?
Melissa Fontaine: When people leave our hospital, I hope they will feel like their care and services were excellent. The building’s amenities will help create a positive impression of UAMS, but we also understand that the building is simply a means to an end. Our ability to provide the best treatment and care will be the final measure of any visitor’s lasting impression of UAMS.