UTMB to expand research with $42 million facility

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston will expand its current research facilities to include 93,000 square feet of critically needed space for its growing research activities.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents recently approved the amendment of the UTMB Capital Improvement Plan to include a $42 million addition to its research facilities at Building 17 on the Galveston campus. The approved action also allocated $30.5 million of Permanent University Fund proceeds, which will augment $11.5 million in bonds to fund the $42 million project.

“We are extremely grateful for the Board of Regents’ continued investment in UTMB and its Galveston campus,” said Dr. David L. Callender, president of UTMB. “This project assures the future of our world-class research enterprise and provides us with state-of-the-art facilities that are resilient and that support our institution’s strategic mission.”

The ground floor of the six-story facility will house non-critical functions such as a lobby and meeting space, in compliance with UTMB’s post-Hurricane Ike mitigation standards. Two floors will house research support facilities, including veterinary and pharmacy space. One floor will be dedicated to mechanical space, and two floors will be shelled during initial construction for future use as laboratory space.

UTMB lost one of its critical research facilities, Building 18, to irreparable damage in Hurricane Ike in late 2008. That building was recently demolished, making room for the new facility at 11th and Strand.

“With this addition, UTMB will have the opportunity to improve its overall ranking in the national and international research arena by attracting National Institutes of Health and other federally-funded grants,” Callender said. “The new facility will also enhance our ability to attract top scientists to join UTMB’s research enterprise.”

UTMB expects to complete design and obtain final approval to begin construction by March 2015. The new research building should be complete and occupied by March 2017.

Apollo Cancer Hospital opens in The Woodlands

A boutique hospital specializing in the comprehensive treatment of cancer patients and oncology related services, with a wide range of professional medical expertise, state-of-the-art technology and personalized service, is now open in North Houston.

The Apollo Hospital System, featuring the Emil J. Freireich Cancer Center, received state certification and officially opened in December. The facility is located at 9201 Pinecroft in Shenandoah.

“Apollo offers patients collaborative care – a full range of oncology and personal services in a relaxed, more convenient setting,” said hospital CEO Fawn Creighton. “Our goal is to make treatment more accessible and less stressful – without compromising quality of care.”

The 60,000-square-feet, two-story facility was previously the home of Sadler Clinic before it went bankrupt in the spring of 2010. Renovation of the structure was handled by Metzger Construction Company of Houston. The cost of the overall project is estimated at $20 million.

Patient services at the facility include chemotherapy, bio-immunotherapy, 24- hour infusion therapy and radiation therapy as well as imaging, laboratory and on-site pharmacy services.

The state-of-the-art cancer center is named for Dr. Emil J. Freireich, an award-winning professor with more than four decades of service at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and a world-renowned cancer researcher.

“We are honored that Doctor Freireich is allowing his name to be associated with our cancer treatment and hospital facility,” said Dr. Asit Choksi, board certified oncologist, medical director of Apollo and CEO of Greater Houston Physicians Medical Association. “He’s a highly respected member of the medical community who has done much for cancer and leukemia research.”

While relatively small in size, the new hospital has impressive technology and a substantial array of medical services.

The Apollo Hospital boasts the latest in technology with the availability of a Philips Ingenuity 128-Slice Computed Tomography (CT) scanner. The unit is capable of scanning the entire body in seconds, providing detailed 3D images of organs and structures inside the human body.

“This technology enables physicians to spot small tumors that would otherwise go undetected by CT-64 scanners and older technology,” said Choksi. “Apollo will be the only hospital in North Houston to have it available.”

EJFCC features an emergency room and outpatient cancer treatment center; a comprehensive breast center offering 3D mammograms with tomosynthesis; stateof- the-art diagnostic center; inpatient and outpatient surgical suites; two operating rooms; a radiation department; chemotherapy, bio immunotherapy; 24- hour infusion therapy, imaging and onsite pharmacy.

Hospital officials say the facility is large enough to allow for in-depth inpatient clinical services and a broad scope of day-today outpatient services – yet small enough to have a personal touch and relationship with Apollo physicians and support staff. The goal of Apollo is to make cancer treatment available to residents of north Houston and Montgomery County, Creighton said. “If a patient doesn’t have adequate insurance or is unable to pay, we will pursue options to allow the patient to get the treatment they need.”

“Apollo consolidates quality medical treatment services in a more convenient ‘one-stop’ location in The Woodlands,” said Creighton. “We want to reduce the stress caused by driving all over Houston for doctor visits, treatments and filling of prescriptions.”

Boutique, specialty hospitals offer patients the benefit of more personalized treatment, said Creighton. In addition to medical treatments, Apollo Hospital offers a range of spa and salon services to provide patients with services to offset and enhance the challenges of medical treatment.

Harris Health System introduces same-day clinics for non-emergency care

Harris Health System will soon offer a new kind of healthcare option for patients needing immediate care for minor illness and minor injuries—but not in need of emergency care—with the Jan. 27 launch of a collaborative in southwest Houston.

The Sareen Clinic at India House is the first of six same-day facilities Harris Health will open in 2014. Each will take walk-in visits similar to mini-clinics in grocery and drug stores. When all six Harris Health same-day clinics open, officials expect to treat about 90,000 patient visits a year.

“We want to ensure people in our community receive the most appropriate care in the most appropriate locations,” says Dr. Ericka Brown, senior vice president and administrator, Harris Health Ambulatory Care Services. “Harris Health’s introduction of our same-day clinics will go a long way to making medical care quick and easy for patients.”

The new 7,500-square-foot facility, located within the community center of India House, 8888 W. Bellfort, Houston, Texas 77031, will have six exam rooms and serve patients 18-months and older.

The goal of Sareen Clinic and future same-day facilities is to provide a more appropriate and convenient care setting for minor illnesses and injuries. The clinic will operate 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Additionally, the clinic will house a gymnasium for physical and occupational therapy as part of medical referrals made across Harris Health System.

“Our collaboration with Harris Health System will benefit the entire community of southwest Houston,” says Kul Bhushan Uppal, vice president, Operations, India House. “This clinic is a welcome site for anyone who needs minor medical care and does not want go to a busy emergency center.”

Several medical insurance, CHIP and Medicaid plans are accepted. People with no proof of insurance will pay a down payment of $0-$76 based on a financial screening. Patients who don’t follow through with completing applications for financial assistance will be responsible for the balance of their bill.

Harris Health’s clinic expansion is part of the Texas’ 1115 Medicaid Waiver, a program that funds innovative efforts to expand and increase healthcare to more people in the community.