Meteoric growth in Middle Tennessee is spurring plans for Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s newly announced $500 million expansion, which will put a new 15-story tower on the Nashville hospital campus.
VUMC CEO Jeff Balser tells Axios the region’s population boom coincided with an explosion of patient needs. Hospital capacity hovers above 90% most of the time.
“The demand for Vanderbilt’s services is at an all-time high,” Balser says. “In order to meet the demands of the region, we just need a lot more space.”
Why It Matters: VUMC is a top regional resource for complex medical care, including organ transplants and complicated cancer surgeries.
“The new tower will increase capacity for those kinds of specialized procedures,” Balser says.
- It will go alongside 21st Avenue South and will become the hospital’s de facto front door.
By The Numbers: The tower will add about 180 inpatient beds and 10 operating rooms, along with radiology services, specialty clinics and office space. The project also includes an addition of three floors and 600 spaces to the central garage.
State Of Play: Construction is expected to begin this summer. Officials say it will take four-and-a-half years to complete.
Flashback: Hospital officials began planning for gradual expansion in the years before the pandemic, transitioning three floors in the Medical Center East building from clinic space to patient beds. When COVID-19 hit, these were quickly designated as ICU beds for pandemic patients.
“After COVID hospitalizations ticked down, demand in other areas increased to fill the void, leading officials to plot out a more ambitious expansion plan,” says Balser.
Zoom Out: Balser says the hospital project won’t slow VUMC’s growth in other sectors. VUMC’s network of regional hospitals and clinics is still expanding, too.
Talks remain underway to lease a portion of the Hickory Hollow Mall space for an Antioch health care site.
“VUMC remains very much engaged with the mayor’s team on that project,” says Balser.
Source: AXIOS Nashville