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ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MARCH 15 – 21, 2012


Dr. Melvin Blanchard, chief of Medical Education and director of Internal Medicine Residency Program at Washington University School of Medicine, describes what the new BarnesJewish Center for Outpatient Health means for patients, medical students and the hospital’s mission at the facility’s unveiling on Thursday, March 8 in St. Louis.

Continued from A1 comes to construction, we certainly make sure we are using minority contractors and representative contractors in our community.” Christopher Dean, senior project manager of design and construction at BJC Healthcare, said BJC exceeded its standard goal of 10 percent minority-owned plus five percent women-owned businesses on construction projects. There also was a dedicated effort to employ minorities in the workforce and grow minority capacity in the building trades. “We required the project manager to employ an apprentice from the Access Center here in St. Louis for every $5 million worth of work,” Dean said. “We ended up exceeding that goal, because the construction value was a little over $50 million.” Dean said they ended up employing 13 minority apprentices on the job. “The benefit of that is, the duration of the project allowed some of the young men and women to become journeymen,” Dean said. “They weren’t apprentices anymore, so that was our big goal in minority participation in our project.”

Photo by Wiley Price

Joe Scarfino, construction manager at Tarlton, said, “The arrangement was to have an apprentice and a mentor – a seasoned veteran – and we put them together to learn their skills and trades, and we actually had two young men who graduated in the course of this project.” Scarfino said eight of 10 minority/women apprentices stayed in the construction industry and have moved on to other jobs. “I think it was very success-

ful, and I would assume that we would approach this in the future,” Dean said of this pilot program. “This was the ideal project – brand new out of the ground, we could really access it and give it a good run.” Dean said they also brought in a life coach to the Access Center for training in other responsibilities of having a career. “We coached them on life skills – how to open a checking account; how to get to work; how to buy a car; how

to insure your car,” Dean said. Patients’ ‘one-stop-shop’ By consolidating primary and specialty care clinics in one location, Liekweg said Barnes-Jewish can better meet the needs of thousands of St. Louisans who have difficulty affording or accessing healthcare. “These clinics primarily serve our Medicaid and underinsured members of our community,” Liekweg said. “For our patients, it’s a sort of onestop-shop.” Liekweg said all of the outpatient care clinics have been expanded from their previous constraints at five smaller separate locations. “The clinics will almost double in number of examination rooms,” said Dr. Melvin S. Blanchard, chief of Medical Education, director of Internal Medicine Residency Program and associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. “This should make our clinics and physicians more efficient and decrease the door-to-door time for our patients.” In addition to a floor dedi-

cated to primary care medicine, the center will house OB/GYN staff, a surgical new wound care center with a hyperbaric oxygen therapy for wound healing, and areas for minor surgical procedures. “This feature eliminates the need for the operating room, and you can see that will reduce costs for the hospital and benefit our patients, making it more convenient,” Blanchard said. “There will be readily available diabetic educators, nutritionists, social workers and pharmacists in the medicine clinic. Radiology and point-of-care testing will also be available.” ‘Commitment to its educational mission’ Blanchard said the new facility greatly improves Barnes-Jewish’s capacity as a teaching institution. “Physicians who train at outstanding institutions practice outstanding medicine. It is well established that the care that physicians provide today, wherever they are, is in large measure dependent on the quality of care that was delivered in the area where they trained,” Blanchard said.

“So this building represents a commitment by the hospital to its educational mission, to patient care and service delivery, and we are really grateful for that.” With better access to targeted services, administrators hope this takes pressure off the ER. “We hope by expanding access, patients will be able to turn to the clinics here rather than using the emergency rooms,” Liekweg said. With the hospital serving more than 90,000 safety net patients annually, Liekweg also said their outpatient facility poses no threat to existing public health centers. “In terms of any perceived impact on federally qualified health centers or ConnectCare, we have a great collaborative relationship with all of those entities,” Liekweg said. “All of us are constrained in terms of capacity, so this just adds a more advanced asset to serve a segment of our community that we are all trying to serve better.” Environmentally-friendly The structure is environmentally-friendly and LEEDregistered. Solar panels on the building are capable of producing 22 kilowatts of electricity, which is enough energy during peak production to light one entire floor of the building. The panels are also tied into charging stations at the adjacent parking lot for six electrical vehicles. It is modern and spacious in design with abundant natural light and picturesque scenery. The facility has wider furniture, hallways and doorways to better accommodate larger patients and persons with disabilities. The penthouse views on the two top floors are dedicated to BJC and hospital administrative offices and meeting areas. The facility will also house administration from Siteman Cancer Center, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and private physician suites. The first floor is designated for retail space.