The John Peter Smith Board of Managers announced in March that it would begin discussing new facilities at its next meeting in April. The Board is currently looking into the possibility of expanding and renovating the hospital district’s location on Main Street in Fort Worth.
President and CEO of JPS Health Network Robert Earley said the main reason for the discussion is to better serve patients. The public health network is the only level one trauma center in Tarrant County, while the hospital also serves more than 1,500 psychiatric patients per month.
“We obviously do have some capacity issues,” Earley said.
J.R. Labbe, vice president of communications and community affairs, said the hospital serves 380 patients per day in the emergency room alone.
“Everything that goes along with that in terms of testing and service lines is also magnifying,” Labbe said.
Some of JPS’s hospital rooms hold three patients at a time. By doing this, Earley said the hospital could run the risk of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. He said it also poses risks to patients and visitors.
“You put more people per room and more visitors in there, you create challenges that we want to rid,” Earley said.
Labbe said the hospital administration would want a new JPS building to feature only private patient rooms.
But there is no timeline or budget for the ideas yet. Labbe said. If plans move forward, JPS could plan to build new facilities and renovate existing ones.
“Our patient base doesn’t decrease here,” Labbe said. “So as the county grows, so do the demands on what we do here.”
Parkland Health & Hospital System, one of JPS’s main comparisons, completed construction work on a new $1.3 billion hospital in Dallas last month.
Earley said not to expect JPS to mimic the look of the sleek and technologically-advanced Parkland Memorial Hospital.
“[We’re] not looking for a pretty building or something that looks good when you drive by,” Earley said. “You really want to look at patient flow and how best you’re serving your patients.”
JPS currently owns an empty plot of land next to its current facilities. The old St. Joseph Hospital, built in 1927, used to sit there, but it was torn down in 2012-2013. Earley said new expectations and guidelines for health care systems meant the hospital had to go.
“It was historic, but it didn’t fit the demands of what is required in the health care system today,” Earley said.
Labbe said that empty area would be the home of new JPS facilities, but there are no set plans for any moves at this time.
The Board of Managers will meet this Thursday on April 9.
Clayton Youngman is a public affairs reporter for The 109. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @YoungmanClayton.