January 11, 2023

IU Health expands downtown facilities to meet forecasted uptick in inpatient demand


A rendering of the new hospital, which will combine operations of both IU Health Methodist and University hospitals. The building that now houses University Hospital on the Indiana University Purdue University Campus will become property of IUPUI.  - courtesy of IU Health

A rendering of the new hospital, which will combine operations of both IU Health Methodist and University hospitals. The building that now houses University Hospital on the Indiana University Purdue University Campus will become property of IUPUI.

courtesy of IU Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has both delayed and increased the need for the expansion of IU Health facilities in downtown Indianapolis. According to IU Health officials, the larger capacity is needed to meet the IU Health board’s forecasted inpatient demand, which includes a growing caseload of sicker patients.

The expansion of IU Health facilities at 16th and Capitol, just south of IU Methodist, will include a new hospital with 864 private patient beds — an increase from the 672 beds that the original project planned for.

IU Health Vice President of Project Planning and Operations Nick Wojciechowski said the pandemic highlighted the need for this change.

“We're making every single one of those 894 beds large enough to be able to serve an intensive care patient,” he said, “which was really one of the great challenges during the height of the pandemic surges was that we didn't have the right types of spaces for what patients needed.”

Wojciechowski said the expansion will give IU Health more room to flex hospital space and help the hospital system be more “agile and flexible to innovations and cutting edge things that are happening in medicine all the time.”

The new hospital is budgeted at $2.31 billion and expected to be completed in 2027. The cost of support buildings, infrastructure and other work on the expanded 44-acre campus and neighboring properties is projected at an additional $1.98 billion.

The new facility will combine operations of both IU Health Methodist and University hospitals and eliminate duplication of many services. The building that now houses University Hospital on the Indiana University Purdue University Campus will become property of IUPUI. The Simon Cancer Center will be moved to the new IU Health facility. Wojciechowski said he’s uncertain what will happen to the buildings that currently make up IU Health Methodist. 

The consolidation is expected to save the hospital system $50 million a year in operating costs by consolidating two large acute-care hospitals.

Labor and supply shortages over the course of the pandemic have also delayed the construction.

Contact reporter Darian Benson at dbenson@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @helloimdarian.

 

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