Martha Jefferson Hospital Hopes to Add More Operating Rooms - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Hospital Hopes to Add More Operating Rooms

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Martha Jefferson Hospital hopes a new expansion project will be just what it needs to meet a growing demand for surgeries. 

It wants to have four additional operating rooms in its outpatient center, but before that can happen the hospital has to answer to the state. If all goes well and the hospital gets the green light, it hopes to have those additional operating rooms by late spring or early summer of 2014. 

"Yes, the operating rooms that we have here are definitely busy," said Jenn Downs, media relations specialist for Martha Jefferson Hospital. 

It's not uncommon to walk into Martha Jefferson Hospital and find that its nine operating rooms are booked daily. Now, there's a push to add four additional ORs to its Outpatient Care Center at Pantops.

"Currently there are tenants in that space and they're going to be moving their operations outside of that space, so our hope is to go in and repurpose those rooms to turn them into the extra operating rooms," Downs said.

The hospital has put in an application to the state as part of the Certificate of Public Need Program, which requires Martha Jefferson to show the expansion is necessary. 

"Even though the space is ours, the certificate of public need is something that has been in place for decades that serves as an extra double check on hospitals to make sure that there really truly is a need for the services in the community before they would be established," Downs said.

The hospital says an increase in outpatient operations such as plastic surgery, orthopedic and gynecological procedures demonstrates the need, and that will be one of the main talking points when Martha Jefferson presents its case during an upcoming public hearing.

As it awaits approval, the hospital has already made plans to fund the project through accumulated reserves. 

"In order to open those four additional operating rooms, if we were given permission to do that, it would cost Martha Jefferson around $2 million," Downs said. 

That's money some argue would be well spent. 

The public hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. May 9 at the Gordon Avenue Library. After the hearing, the state will review the information, and give its decision sometime after that.

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