Woodland Heights expanding NICU, surgical area

Woodland Heights expanding NICU, surgical area

LUFKIN, TX (News Release) - A $9.8 million expansion is coming to Lufkin's Woodland Heights Medical Center.

Beginning in early October, construction crews will break ground on two projects within the facility. An upgrade and addition in the surgery area and an increase in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) footprint.

"Woodland Heights continues to grow and invest in the East Texas area to serve the medical needs of our patients and community," stated Kyle Swift, CEO of Woodland Heights.  "We appreciate the continued support of our physicians, staff and Board of Trustees and their commitment to being the healthcare provider of choice."

In the surgery area, the improvements will include enlarging the outpatient area and the addition of one new surgical suite. Aesthetic upgrades will be made throughout the clinical care areas and in the waiting areas used by family members. These changes will improve efficiency in the surgery department and allow for continued growth, as this area has seen a steady increase in the last several years.

"Improving efficiency is ultimately what is best for the patient," states Merritt Pember, M.D., Chief of Surgery at Woodland Heights. "The patients we serve are our main priority, and it is exciting to see these changes to accommodate them."

The NICU will see the addition of nine beds that will take the unit from six beds to 15, with the footprint extending out from the unit that was opened in 2013.  Since the opening, the physicians and staff in the NICU have cared for more than 200 babies, which is both a financial and emotional relief for all of those families.

"The addition of the NICU beds will be so beneficial to our tiny patients and their families. The stress on a family when their sick newborn has to be transported out of town is immeasurable," stated Dr. Linda Chase, a neonatologist.  "Providing care for these fragile newborns, keeping them close to home, and having space for the parents to stay and be involved in the baby's care is a huge asset to the community. I am honored to be part of the commitment that Woodland Heights has made to provide this service for Lufkin and the surrounding areas."

The NICU is on track to see a 30 percent increase in volume over last year and deliveries at the facility have seen a steady increase with 64 percent growth from 2010 to 2014.

"Thanks to the excellent service and quality of care provided by our staff and physicians, we have the need to accommodate growth, both now and in the future," Swift added.

The project is expected to be completed in summer 2016.

Copyright 2015 KTRE. All rights reserved.