Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, March 16, 2012

Regents approve $20.5M for major upgrades to Taubman Center

For more than 25 years, the A. Alfred Taubman Health Care Center on the medical campus has drawn patients from around the state and the world, for outpatient visits with some of the nation's top specialists in a broad range of diseases.

Now the U-M Health System will invest $20.5 million in making it an even finer destination. The Board of Regents on Thursday approved two projects that will renovate, reorganize and revitalize the Taubman Center, and add to the range of services offered there.

By the end of next summer, it will feature a new outpatient clinic for the Transplant Center; a non-cancer infusion clinic; expanded or renovated space for other specialties including internal medicine, neurology, neurosurgery and otolaryngology; and a larger pharmacy also offering medical supplies.

"As we seek to provide the ideal experience for our ever-growing number of adult outpatients, these changes will increase efficiency and make the Taubman Center an even more desirable place to receive care," says Jeanne Rizzo, executive director of ambulatory care services for UMHS.

She notes that 1.6 million adult outpatient visits took place at the Health System's 40 ambulatory care locations last year, and that demand for that is rising around 3 percent a year. The new projects, and a recently announced health center in Northville that will open in 2014, will help meet that demand.

Opened in 1986 at the same time as University Hospital, the Taubman Center bears the name of A. Alfred Taubman, a retail pioneer and U-M's largest donor. Until last December, it was home to clinics for all types of patients, from infants to seniors.

But when the new facility housing the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital opened, outpatient clinics for women, newborns and children moved there — opening up nearly 30,000 square feet in Taubman.

In one of two projects approved by the regents, the south end of the first floor of the Taubman Center will be converted to a multidisciplinary Transplant Center clinic. This will provide one-stop access to specialized care for patients who are waiting for or have received an organ transplant at UMHS.

Also new will be an outpatient infusion area, specifically for transplant recipients and other patients who have diseases other than cancer that can be treated with intravenous medications. This will be the third such clinic opened by UMHS to help meet rising demand for such care.

The project also will expand the pharmacy and move it to the center of the first floor, making it more convenient for both outpatients and for inpatients being discharged from either hospital.

There, the Department of Pharmacy Services will continue to offer specialized compounding pharmacy services, and medications not offered by most community retail pharmacies, and will add a selection of medical supplies and equipment for sale through Home Care Services.

For patients with ear, nose and throat conditions, the newly remodeled first floor will include an expanded clinic and access to hearing aid services. The neurology clinic also will be expanded and renovated, as will the neurosurgery clinic one level above. And a new area will be created just for patients who are scheduled for surgery, giving them a place to check in and receive final tests or preparation.

That first project, with a total cost of $13 million, will be designed by the architectural firm of Harley Ellis Devereaux.

The second project approved is a $7.5 million effort to renovate and redesign 27,500 square feet on the third floor of the Taubman Center, with the help of the architectural firm of Niagara Murano.

There, the many clinics run by the Department of Internal Medicine will receive their first renovation since the building opened, to improve the patient experience and the efficiency of clinic operations. This includes clinics for gastroenterology, general medicine, pulmonary medicine, nephrology, infectious diseases and overseas travel, medical genetics, and rheumatology.

"Our goals of strategic growth, improved access and fiscal responsibility all mesh well in these two projects, and the result will be better service in a better environment for our patients," Rizzo says.