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$20 million worth of better care

Mirror staff

St. Francis Hospital promises broader and more convenient medical care when it officially opens its new outpatient center next Tuesday.

The 62,500-square-foot facility, which cost about $20 million to build and equip, is expected to benefit patients and their families by positioning related programs within the same building.

The overall design, right down to the interior decor ŽÐŽÐ Ž“soothing, soft colorsŽ” and Ž“comfortable furnitureŽ” ŽÐŽÐ is intended to emphasize a philosophy that good health involves the mind, body and spirit, officials said.

The center, which is adjacent to the hospital, includes expanded same-day surgical services, what officials call the only comprehensive radiation oncology services in Federal Way, state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging and rehabilitation programs.

Ž“By consolidating these services under one roof, weŽ’ll be able to offer more complex procedures with the most sophisticated medical technology available,Ž” said Syd Bersante, St. FrancisŽ’ chief operating officer.

A day surgery center, located on the top floor of the new facility, is for short-stay patients and those needing some post-surgical care. The four operating rooms, each measuring 600 square feet, are twice the size of the hospitalŽ’s previous operating rooms. They include video equipment for use by the medical staff, new anesthesia machines and patient-monitoring stations.

Ž“The advanced technologyŽ” and larger operating rooms will allow Ž“a greater range of surgery with faster recovery times and minimum discomfort for our patients,Ž” said Chris Lunderman, surgery coordinator.

Also, the day surgery center has a lab and video capabilities for treatment of gastrointestinal ailments.

Other features of the outpatient center include:

Ž¥ Diagnostic imaging. Officials said the MRI and CT scanners are the best available, and are accompanied by the newest versions of ultrasound and X-ray equipment. A full-body CT scan can be completed within one breath of the patient while identifying the precise locations and sizes of tumors, officials said.

Ž¥ Radiation oncology. St. Francis has teamed with Virginia Mason Medical Center to provide radiation therapy. One piece of equipment directs high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy to tumors, but with minimum exposure to surrounding, healthy tissue.

Ž¥ Rehabilitation services. St. FrancisŽ’ physical, occupational and speech therapy will share a common area in the new center. TheyŽ’ve been housed in different areas of the hospital. New rehabilitation features are a low-impact, treadmill-in-water for use by patients who undergo joint replacements, lymphedema treatment and education, and physical evaluations by an industrial rehabilitation specialist.

Diabetes education services, a full-service lab with extended hours (7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily), a meeting room, a garden and an espresso stand are other amenities, along with a drive-up entrance and parking.

St. Francis, part of the the Franciscan Health System, has 110 patient beds and 627 employees. It has been rated among the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. three years in a row by a healthcare research organization in Illinois.

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