“Moving day” for departments, units, and patients heading for J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital's new southeast tower will occur in January 2017, but the details of the re-population have been in place for months.

Mike Ortiz, assistant vice president of support services, is coordinating the move. The process of shifting patients from Ruby Memorial to the 10-story, 333,000-square-foot tower is challenging, he says, and has been shaped considerably by input from numerous employees.

“The biggest challenge with the move has been meeting everybody’s needs, the coordination of making it happen, and the ongoing changes,” Ortiz said.

But, he added, “all the people who have worked on this project have been phenomenal. Everybody has had an outstanding attitude; no one has been unreasonable.”

Overflow patients from Ruby Memorial will be shifted to 9 southeast and 5 southeast on Jan. 2, 2017, the first step in the exodus. Other units and departments will move throughout January.

Computers, medical equipment, and other necessities will be in place and operational by the time each move occurs. Also, each department or unit will have an “all hands on deck” staffing policy so patient care is not disrupted.

Ortiz said bi-weekly meetings with departments and units that are relocating have been valuable for discussing “roadblocks, issues, and concerns.

“We don’t want to have any surprises. I want to be transparent about everything and communicate as much as possible.”

The $200 million tower will create space for 148 beds, a net increase of 114 beds, and will be home to the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, which will lead WVU Medicine’s statewide efforts in cardiovascular care, research, education, and outreach. 

Each floor will be approximately 33,000 square feet. The plan for the breakdown of the floors is as follows:

  • First floor: clinic space/exam rooms
  • Second floor: 3 ORs, 3 hybrid procedure rooms, 3 cardiac cath labs, and 1 EP room, plus pre- and post-op areas
  • Third floor: 28 CVICU rooms
  • Fifth floor: 24 MICU beds
  • Sixth floor: 32 pediatric beds
  • Seventh floor: Heart and Vascular Institute offices
  • Eighth floor: shell space
  • Ninth floor: 32 acute care beds
  • Tenth floor: 32 acute care beds

Ortiz said the tower plan will serve as catalyst to better align units based on service, which will lead to a better coordination of care throughout Ruby Memorial.

“We don’t want physicians to have to go all over the place to see their patients,” he said.

Once vacated, the east side of the main Ruby Memorial building will undergo a "sequential refresh," beginning with 10 East and ending with 6 East, Ortiz said. That project should be completed by July 31, 2017.

Ortiz is confident that if everyone remains amicable to change, "the final outcome will be something everyone is proud to have been a part."