URMC Plans Construction of New Building to Expand Imaging, Autism Care

September 04, 2013

The University of Rochester Medical Center has submitted an application to the New York State Department of Health to construct a $28.4 million, three-story building along Brighton’s East River Road to relocate outpatient imaging and some pediatric outpatient care.

URMC is requesting permission to construct the 92,000-square-foot building to provide convenient access for outpatient imaging and autism services for children. Relocating those services out of the Medical Center will allow for modernization of existing space for efficient inpatient care.

“This plan addresses our urgent need for appropriate, accessible space for imaging services. Not only do today’s technologies require more room, we’re also focused on the comfort and privacy of our patients and families,” said URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. “Plus, this new building will be in a less congested area near the Medical Center and close to the expressway.”

The new building will be located on University-owned property near the Route 390/Kendrick Road interchange. It is expected to be completed in 2015, pending state and Brighton approvals.

Patient volume has grown at the URMC and imaging space, designed in the 1970s, has been tight for many years because of the size of modern technology for x-rays, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, angiography, ultrasound, and computed tomography. Nearly 350,000 imaging tests are performed at the Medical Center each year and 42 percent are for outpatient care.

Five years ago, URMC leaders announced plans to construct a new building to modernize and expand adult and pediatric inpatient units and improve imaging technology space. Those plans were revised and leaders moved forward with an addition to the Wilmot Cancer Center and construction of a new Golisano Children’s Hospital. The need for upgrades and expansion of imaging services space remains.

Two floors of the new East River Road building will provide larger and more efficient space for imaging services needed by outpatients. At the Medical Center, the existing Imaging Sciences department space will be renovated to better serve hospitalized patients.

The first phase of the project includes construction of the imaging space and a portion of the pediatric outpatient care, at a cost of $23.3 million. The remaining portion of the third floor will be completed in two to three years, at a cost of $5.1 million.

About 7,500 square feet of the 30,000-square-foot third floor will address the need for expanding autism services. A decade ago, Golisano Children’s Hospital was diagnosing about 175 children and conducting 714 visits in a year. This past year, autism specialists diagnosed 533 patients and conducted 3,531 visits. Couple that steep rise with new legislation that now requires insurance companies to cover treatment of autism and its medical and behavioral complications, and Golisano Children’s Hospital has run out of space in its current outpatient clinic on the URMC campus.

The new building also provides the opportunity to move the program to an easily accessible location built around the unique needs of children with autism. For example, children with autism are often uncomfortable in loud and busy places and clinicians will work with designers to create new space that is quiet and calming for them.

URMC will submit plans to the State Hospital Review and Planning Council for its administrative review, in addition to seeking approval from Brighton leaders.

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Leslie White
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