NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - After almost 30 years, Nashville General Hospital could be moving to a new location which hospital leaders said would improve patient care and be of no additional cost to taxpayers.
The hospital has been on the Meharry Medical College Campus.
Dr. Joseph Webb, CEO of Nashville General Hospital said the lease arrangement on the campus will end in 2027. The hospital has been starting to think of whether to stay and renovate or build a new hospital.
“When we did the visibility study, we presented that information to the board and the board decided it would make more sense fiscally, financially and operationally to consider a new site,” said Dr. Joseph Webb, CEO at Nashville General Hospital. “That was based on the cost of renovating the existing space, the cost of the utilities as far as efficiencies are concerned, and the ability to navigate the facility and update the 25; I think the building was built in 1973.”
Webb said the hospital is already getting interest from investors who want to fund the project of a state of the art teaching hospital, something that a new site will allow them to build.
Hospital leaders said the current location needs several upgrades. They say it has older heating and cooling systems and logistic issues of transporting patients within the hospital
“Things as simple as elevators where you’re moving patients around all the time and you need the shafts to be larger, you need to be able to move stretchers in and out. You would have to renovate all of those. Which means you would have to take that entire shaft out and create a larger system for transporting patients,” Dr. Webb said. “There are issues like the logistics of transporting patients from point A to Point B. Nowadays hospitals are being designed on a more horizontal design and not so much vertical. Because if you’re vertical it makes your space much more constrained.”
At the top of the list for a desired new space for the new Nashville General Hospital is Metro Center.
Dr. Webb said they would need 40 acres or more for a new build.
“We would occupy that building paying a mortgage just like we are doing now, and after that 30 years. the goal is after that 30 years, the asset would go to the city as opposed to the private investor,” Dr. Webb said.
The city of Nashville currently gives a subsidy of about $40 to $50 million to the hospital for caring for patients who don’t have the ability to pay. Dr. Webb said a new hospital building could reduce that amount coming from the city.
“If we’re projecting we’re going to generate more revenues, then we’re not even going to ask the city for the higher subsidy or the subsidy at the level at it is,” Dr. Webb said. “The fact of the matter is we’re really not looking for anything, in addition, to come from the taxpayers,” he added.
Webb said About 40 percent of patients right now at the hospital don’t have the ability to pay and a subsidy from the city goes to cover that cost.
We asked the CEO of Nashville General Hospital how a new site would affect access for people in this community. He said they don’t plan to be too far from the current location.
“What we need to do is to be prepared to remain in a central location so that access as far as bus routes and roads and plus combine that with our ability to utilize our transportation which we do to commute patients to care when they are struggling,” Webb said.
Nashville General is a teaching hospital for Meharry Medical College. We asked if a new building away from campus would impact Meharry students.
“What this will do is provide Meharry with again state of art teaching environment,” Dr. Webb said. “Let’s say you had major viewing systems, cameras, a structure that is designed for teaching the students within large groups. It would make it more attractive for students to come to Meharry to gain access and learn,” he added.
If they build, the projected date of completion for the new hospital building is 2026
They’re hoping to make final decisions in 6 months on what the hospital will actually do.
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