Taken for Granted: A Journey Through St. Louis Healthcare

In a city of world renowned healthcare, expansion is moving rapidly.

The following article is Part 2 of a four-part series designed to showcase the extraordinary healthcare available in the great city of St. Louis and the region. Often overlooked and taken for granted, St. Louis has become a national and world leader in leading edge healthcare, expertise and groundbreaking medical developments.

Partners in medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are building on a shared history of developing and delivering advanced patient care.

The academic medical center is in the midst of a 10-year campus renewal plan, a partnership that also includes St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Creating an exceptional patient experience has been central to the project design. For example, a 12-story high rise under construction at Kingshighway Boulevard and Forest Park Avenue features private rooms, most with expansive views of Forest Park or rooftop gardens, for cancer and obstetrics patients.

The project is one of several and is the latest in a century-long relationship between Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. Recognized as national leaders in clinical care and research, the institutions consistently rank among the best medical and research centers in the nation.

Recent and ongoing achievements include:

  • Barnes-Jewish Hospital being named to U.S. News & World Report’s honor roll of America’s Best Hospitals for 23 consecutive years, with 14 nationally ranked medical specialties recognized in 2015. They include: pulmonology, nephrology, urology and neurology and neurosurgery. Barnes-Jewish is the only hospital in Missouri to be named to the honor roll.

  • Washington University School of Medicine consistently being named a top 10 medical school, most recently at No. 6, according to U.S. News & World Report. Further, the school has remained at the top nationwide in student selectivity, a measure of medical student undergraduate grade-point averages and MCAT scores.

  • The affiliated Siteman Cancer Center receiving the highest rating possible – exceptional – by the National Cancer Institute, for research. Strengths include: genomics, cancer imaging, cancer prevention and disparities, and studying the body's immune system to fight cancer.

Regarding research, clinical faculty members of the School of Medicine oversee hundreds of clinical trials. They allow Barnes-Jewish and Siteman patients to participate in studies evaluating the effectiveness of investigational treatments and disease-prevention strategies. Recent clinical trials include:

  • An international partnership of scientists, led by Washington University School of Medicine, studying a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease caused by a gene mutation. Called the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network (DIAN), the project also is meant to provide clues to decoding the disease and other dementias and developing treatments.

  • Personalized vaccines aimed at preventing the recurrence – and, eventually, the initial occurrence – of breast cancer, melanoma and glioblastomas, the most aggressive form of brain tumors.

  • A pioneering nerve-transfer surgical technique that has restored some hand and arm movement to nine patients immobilized by spinal cord injuries in the neck. Surgeons redirected peripheral nerves in the patients’ arms and hands by connecting healthy nerves to the injured nerves, allowing them, once again, to accomplish such tasks as feeding themselves or writing with a pen.

A recognized leader in patient care, research and education, the School of Medicine ranks fourth among all medical schools in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), opening the door to breakthroughs in research. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, faculty members received about $465 million in gifts and grants from public and private sources.

Clinical care highlights have included:

  • The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center was one of the first in the country to offer heart procedures to patients who had not been candidates for heart surgery in the past. Its team of interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons has performed 500 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures – more than any other center in the region.

  • In 1985, Barnes-Jewish Hospital became the 16th hospital in the world with a dedicated liver transplant program and the first in Missouri to perform a successful liver transplant. Today, the program is one of the world’s largest, with surgeons completing more than 1,739 liver transplants.

  • Siteman’s bone marrow and stem cell transplant program is one of the largest in the world, performing nearly 500 transplants each year – and more than 5,000 since 1982. The program has performed unrelated donor transplants since 1992.

  • The American College of Surgeons verified Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s trauma program as a Level I Trauma Center. Barnes-Jewish is one of three hospitals in Missouri to earn this prestigious honor.

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the School of Medicine’s teaching hospital for adult patients, has 1,800 medical staff members, including 750 full-time clinical faculty of the medical school. In addition, more than 200 community physicians, who are part-time faculty members of the medical school, admit patients.

The institutions, affiliated for more than a century, are committed to transforming their campus to meet the needs of patients. The inpatient tower under construction for cancer and obstetrics patients is part of the first phase of a campus renewal project. The high rise, an expansion of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Siteman Cancer Center, will have 558,000 square feet of space and two levels of parking beneath it. It will include 185 private patient beds, 12 operating rooms and five interventional rooms. The patient rooms, all private, will have space for two family members or guests to sleep.

Siteman’s five floors will include 12 new operating rooms that primarily will serve colorectal, urological and gynecological cancer patients. The space will increase the number of inpatient cancer beds to 160, from 128, all in private rooms, and will include a 25-bed intensive care unit, including 10 beds for bone marrow transplant patients.

Across Parkview Place on Kingshighway is the 12-story expansion of St. Louis Children’s Hospital. That project will substantially increase the number of private beds and expand diagnostics and treatment services, outpatient clinics and support services.

Phase two of the campus renewal project will focus on the south end, near Interstate 64/Highway 40. It will include renovation and new construction, including another new inpatient tower at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. This phase will enable the expansion of heart and vascular, neurology and neurosurgery, transplant, trauma and critical care as well as general medicine programs.

Both phases include an increase in the number of private rooms and will incorporate significant improvements to parking, traffic flow and wayfinding for patients. Construction of phase one is expected to finish in 2017. Phase two will start soon thereafter and extend into 2022.



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