When Alliance area resident Megan Brooks went into labor last November, she had to fight the Interstate-35W morning rush-hour traffic to make her way to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.
“It took about an hour to drive 15 miles,” she said.
Brooks was traveling on what has become the most congested piece of freeway in Texas—I-35W from I-30 to State Highway 183, according to a TxDOT report. It now even surpasses traffic on I-635 between I35-E and U.S. 75 Central Expressway.
The Alliance area population in north Fort Worth more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, adding more than 110,000 residents and doubling its household count to more than 75,000. According to a study commissioned by Alliance developer Hillwood Properties, the 108,000-acre area bounded by Loop 820 on the south, Denton County on the north and Lake Grapevine on the east would be one of the nation’s fastest-growing communities.
Moderately priced housing has attracted thousands of young families. Brooks is one of more than 82,000 women of childbearing age in the Alliance area.
Not coincidentally, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance makes its debut next week to serve the booming area. It will open its doors September 19 at I-35W and Golden Triangle Boulevard. It plans to introduce the facility to the community at an open house 2-5 p.m. Saturday.
The 188,000-square-foot, four-story hospital is licensed for 50 beds, including 12 ICU beds, 24 medical/surgical beds and 14 postpartum beds. Hospital services will include emergency medicine, women and infant services including neonatal intensive care, surgical services, imaging, physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation and occupational health.
The facility will be loaded with the latest integrated technology –electronic medical records, wireless hands free communication system, and real-time location capabilities for equipment, staff and patients. Clinicians will be able to communicate more efficiently and spend more time in direct patient care.
Planning for the hospital began in August 2009, at the height of the national healthcare-reform debate. Hospital executives consulted a physician-led council of clinicians and Texas Health Resources employees charged with developing strategies for coordinating and improving care.
They also held town hall style meetings with homeowners’ associations and local business leaders.
Winjie Tang Miao, the new hospital’s president, said, “We had a very rare opportunity to build a hospital from scratch. We asked ourselves what the next generation of healthcare would look like. This facility is truly built by the community, for the community. We have brought best practices from across the Texas Health system and the country to this hospital in order to deliver the health care this community deserves.”
Surgeon Nabeel Shabout, one of six doctors involved in the project, said, “Sometimes, the (hospital) structure kind of inhibits you. Medicine has changed since hospitals were built 40-60 years ago. Newer technology makes things different. This is where physicians want to be. We want input from the get-go.”
Steve Jacob is editor of D Healthcare Daily and author of the new book Health Care in 2020: Where Uncertain Reform, Bad Habits, Too Few Doctors and Skyrocketing Costs Are Taking Us. He can be reached at [email protected]