The MU Women's and Children's Hospital opened Thursday morning, making it the first hospital in Missouri dedicated solely to the needs of women and children.
"Today marks a new chapter in the history of University of Missouri Health Care," MU Health Care CEO James Ross said. "By opening the first women's and children's hospital in Missouri, we're taking a bold step forward in providing the women and children a better health care facility that can take care of their needs at every stage in their lives."
The 157-bed hospital features separate entrances for both women and children. Renovations to the five-story building totaled more than $12 million dollars.
"We set out to design a children's hospital that continued the outstanding level of care we've been providing through the children's hospital for more than 25 years," Ross said.
In 2009, the Children's Hospital saw patients from 111 of Missouri's 115 counties. Its location by the intersection of Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 63 is supposed to help the hospital increase in visibility and allow it to be a more accessible location.
"What it does, it not only inspires us, it not only attracts people from all walks of life into Columbia, but it certainly is an important element in attracting health care professionals into our university as well," Chancellor Brady Deaton said.
Deaton said since the MU Women's and Children's Hospital was first announced two years ago, recruiting within the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health has increased by 30 percent.
According to a news release, nearly 60,000 square feet of the hospital is dedicated to children's services. The lobby is designed to be child-friendly, featuring a neutral, relaxed color scheme.
The Children's Hospital includes 43 private in-patient rooms for both pediatric and adolescent patients. Rooms are equipped with a Wii and Blu-Ray players.
Children's Hospital Medical Director Timothy Fete said the rooms are not only for entertainment, but education as well. Patients will be able to view programs to learn about their various illnesses.
"This facility is beautiful," Fete said. "It's gorgeous."
Fete said though the facility itself is well built, it is the people who fill it that really provide the care.
"Every person who comes to this hospital, to be admitted and cared for, is going to be cared for by somebody who wants to work here," Fete said. "They want to work with kids. They want to work with women."
In the Family Birth Center, a gynecologist will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the 2010 fiscal year, 1,863 babies were delivered. The center houses 26 antepartum and postpartum rooms, eight labor and delivery rooms, two surgical suites and a well-baby nursery.
"Our renovated facilities will bring added comfort to our patients and expand the state-of-the-art technology we use to ensure our expecting moms have a safe and healthy delivery," said Keri Simon, MU Women's and Children's Hospital executive director, in a news release.
Other services provided in the Women's Health Center includes robotic surgery, wellness services and care for women with gynecologic cancers.
"From fertility services to advanced birthing care and urogynecologic services, our 21 well-trained physicians provide a full range of clinical health services to women of all ages," Winn said in a news release.