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OHSU moves forward with hospital expansion

Project will enhance research, education, patient care at Oregon’s academic health center
A design rendering of the OHSU hospital expansion project looking west from Campus Drive on Marquam Hill. (Motiv Studio and NBBJ)
This rendering shows the OHSU Hospital expansion looking to the west from Campus Drive on Marquam Hill near OHSU’s existing Casey Eye Institute. OHSU’s board of directors on Friday approved the expansion to improve the ability to care for patients in need of complex care, while also enhancing the university’s research and education missions. (Motiv Studio and NBBJ)

Oregon Health & Science University’s board of directors on Friday approved a project to expand OHSU Hospital on Marquam Hill.

The project will significantly increase OHSU’s capacity to care for Oregonians, while supporting the growth of the university’s research and education missions.

The five-year project will break ground in spring 2022, with completion expected in 2026.

It will add 152 licensed inpatient medical and surgical beds and provide shelled space for an additional 32 beds – a net total of 184 new inpatient beds, which increases hospital capacity by about a third. The project will also increase the number of adult inpatient operating rooms from 25 to 31. As a high-acuity trauma facility and a regional referral center for patients around the state and beyond, the OHSU Hospital expansion is designed to improve the ability to care for patients with the most critical health care needs.

For example, current space constraints limit the ability to perform procedures that are not urgent, prolongs wait times for patients who come to our emergency department, and increases the number of patients who need to be housed there temporarily until they can be admitted to the hospital.

An image of Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, at OHSU. A man in a suit standing outside a building.
Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS (OHSU)

“OHSU Hospital exists to enhance the health and well-being of Oregonians. Investing in our people, programs and places allows us to improve the care provided to patients and the educational experiences available for learners, and bolsters our ability to make life-changing research discoveries,” said OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS. “The Hospital Expansion Project is an opportunity for OHSU to serve even more Oregon residents, and I am pleased that our board of directors supports this transformational effort that will benefit so many.”

The board approved $650 million in funding for the inpatient hospital bed expansion, an additional 26,000 square feet for operating rooms, and signaled it will consider expanding and enhancing labor and delivery as well as intensive care services for infants later this fiscal year.

Ultimately, the project will not only add adult beds, but also expand and modernize OHSU’s newborn intensive care and delivery services, eliminating a longstanding problem affecting Oregon’s most vulnerable residents.

The new construction will occur on the site of the former OHSU School of Dentistry, before it moved to the Skourtes Tower in the Robertson Life Sciences Building on OHSU’s South Waterfront campus.

Image of John Hunter, M.D., FACS, at OHSU. A man standing outside OHSU hospital wearing a suit.
John Hunter, M.D., FACS (OHSU)

“Expansion of OHSU Hospital will allow us to care for the many Oregonians who rely on the state’s only academic health system for their needs,” said John Hunter, M.D., FACS, executive vice president and chief executive officer for OHSU Health. “In addition, the state-of-the-art facility will enhance the university’s ability to train the next generation of health care professionals to provide complex care, and find more breakthroughs for better health.”

OHSU Hospital currently operates at or near capacity for adults on a near-constant basis, as was true even before the COVID-19 pandemic, despite continuous efforts to maximize the use of inpatient beds through partnerships with other OHSU-affiliated hospitals and a real-time system to track and manage patient flow.

In 2019, the OHSU board approved funding to design an OHSU Hospital expansion, but the project was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The past 20 months have only increased the urgency for this project by bringing into clearer focus the impact OHSU’s current capacity constraints have on OHSU’s ability to provide the complex health care Oregonians need.

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