UNM Health Sciences Center Outpatient Surgery and Imaging Opens its Doors to New Mexico Patients

After being under construction for just over a year, UNM Hospital is set to unveil the new Outpatient Surgery and Imaging (OSI) building on Friday.  The 38,000 square foot building will contain six operating rooms (with future expansion space for two more), 23 recovery bays (with expansion space for six more), a pain clinic, two mammography rooms, a CT scan room, two ultrasound rooms and a future MRI suite. 

"This is a great milestone for the UNM Health Sciences Center," said Dr. Philip Eaton, UNM vice president for Health Sciences.  "It's one of the first steps toward fulfilling our vision for the Health Sciences Center (HSC) of the future.  As the organization that is charged with addressing the present and future healthcare needs of all New Mexicans, HSC now has a new state-of-the-art facility that will help us better serve our patients."

The project to restructure the OSI building began several years ago, as UNM Hospital began to experience a high growth in their surgical loads.  Since UNM Hospital is the primary provider for most indigent patients in the state, the hospital began to near its capacity at around 15,000 procedures a year.  The 16 available operating rooms became increasingly congested since the outpatient surgeries made up almost 40% of business.

As the hospital grew, two options were looked at for the hospital to reduce its load.  The hospital could either create more space internally, or look externally for the extra needed area.  Since building a free standing facility had been in consideration for a number of years, the location for the free standing facility was approved in 1999 by the UNM Board of Regents, as part of a strategic facility planning effort, through the UNM Health Sciences Center.

"Opening of the OSI building allows us to better serve our patients and support the mission of UNM Hospitals by offering reduced waiting times, better patient parking, and more services outside of the main Hospital," stated Steve McKernan, CEO of UNM Hospitals and HSC associate vice president for Clinical Operations.   "We are proud to continue to serve Albuquerque and New Mexico with more innovative services and clinics," McKernan said.

The site selected for the building was found at 1213 University Blvd., which offers access, visibility, and proximity to the main hospital, as well as availability of parking and access to bus routes.  The new OSI building will take full advantage of panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains and the West Mesa, while it significantly lightens the loads on the operating rooms in the main hospital, which are needed for inpatient and trauma care.

After receiving approvals from UNM Board of Regents, Bernalillo County Commission, the Commission on Higher Education and the New Mexico State Board of Finance, the project was let to bid.  Gerald A. Martin Ltd. was hired as the general contractor and construction began in January 2002.

The building, which is free standing from the UNM Hospital, will generate its own steam, as well as have its own emergency electrical generator.  There are also plans for the OSI building to serve as a communications headquarters for future development of its neighboring UNM properties.

The OSI unveiling will take place during a formal ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, April 25 at 1 pm at 1213 University Blvd.  The first outpatient will be seen by Dr. Moheb Moneim, a world renowned hand surgeon, on Thursday, May 1, 2003.

The mission of the Health Sciences Center is to provide added value to health care through leadership in, providing innovative, collaborative education; advancing frontiers of science through research critical to the future of health care; delivering health care services that are at the forefront of science; and facilitating partnerships with public and private biomedical and health enterprises.


Contact: Jennifer Riordan, 272-3322

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