A new seven-story tower will anchor a $144 million expansion and upgrade to UofL Health – UofL Hospital in downtown Louisville. The project will increase the hospital’s operating capacity and facilitate a phased modernization to include all private beds throughout the remainder of the hospital. When complete, UofL Hospital will offer more than 360 beds, each in a private room, 20 operating rooms, plus a new 24-bed observation unit. Alongside the increased clinical space, the expansion will include an enhanced visitor experience with a new lobby, waiting area, along with updates to the gift shop and coffee shop.
“The new tower will reduce capacity constraints and increase access to UofL Hospital’s specialized care, progressive academic research and innovative treatments,” said Tom Miller, UofL Health CEO. “As Kentucky’s largest academic health care system, UofL Health is building the future of health care, to transform the health of the communities we serve, the Commonwealth and the region.”
The hospital expansion also will lead to an expansion of the UofL Health team, with approximately 325 new jobs being created. Positions will include nurses, plus clinical and non-clinical support. New hires and their dependents are immediately eligible for free undergraduate tuition to UofL, funded by UofL Health.
The investments at UofL Hospital are part of an overall commitment to increase access to care in the region, particularly in federally medically underserved areas (MUAs). Over the past two years, UofL Health has opened five Urgent Care Plus locations, added two new locations for the Brown Cancer Center and recruited more than 143 new physicians. Two of the urgent cares, a cancer center location and more than 100 physicians are specifically located to serve people living in MUAs. In addition, UofL Health recently announced the building of a new rehabilitation hospital called UofL Health – Frazier Rehabilitation Institute – Brownsboro, in partnership with Kindred Healthcare, and is evolving a medical center into a full-service hospital in Bullitt County.
“UofL Health has been an outstanding Team Kentucky partner in the fight against COVID-19, and this expansion is great news for Louisville and the commonwealth,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “Increasing UofL Hospital’s staff and capacity will make it possible for more Kentuckians to get great care, alleviate the burden on other hospitals in busy times and help train the next generation of Kentucky physicians, nurses and other health care professionals. To develop our workforce, it’s important to make higher education more affordable. That’s why UofL Health’s commitment to providing free tuition to employees and their families is such a critical step and one that’s deeply appreciated.”
UofL Hospital is the primary teaching and research hospital for UofL Health, affiliated with the University of Louisville. Its Level 1 Trauma Center, one of only two adult trauma centers in the state, includes a comprehensive burn unit and admits more than 3,500 patients each year. The hospital is home to Kentucky’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and includes UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center. The cancer center specializes in treating cancers of the nervous system, breast, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems, head and neck, lungs and skin. UofL Hospital is part of one of only 120 academic medical centers in the country.
“By expanding UofL Hospital to meet today’s medical needs, we are also investing to grow the physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals of tomorrow,” said Lori Gonzalez, University of Louisville interim president. “The updated facility will complement the renowned reputation of our academic physicians.”
The hospital is licensed to operate up to 404 beds, but the existing facility limited operating capacity to 340 over the last several years. The combined impact of the additional beds and the observation unit creates room for nearly 50 more patients and reduces wait times as patients transition between different levels of care. The seven-story tower expansion will also include the infrastructure to accommodate two more floors for future growth.
“I’m thrilled to see UofL Health make yet another exciting investment that will improve care, expand access, and further grow our city’s already outstanding health care workforce. This new seven-story tower will help ensure that state-of-the-art, patient-centered care will be the hallmark of UofL Hospital for years to come,” said Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth. “As our state’s leading academic health care system and teaching hospital, I’m proud of the work being done here in Louisville to improve the lives of Kentuckians—whether they enter these doors as patients or as the medical professionals of tomorrow.”
“This expansion of vital health care resources, right here in our city’s core, is great news for people who need the kind of specialized services that UofL Health provides,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Thank you to the UofL Health leadership and team for all your hard work, your passion and your commitment to our city and its residents.”
More than 1.5 million patients seek care through UofL Health each year, with patients from each of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
“This expansion means we can better support both our community and hospitals in other communities,” said Ken Marshall, UofL Health chief operating officer. “When we are full, we can deliver the care to our patients that is expected of us. We are building to allow more patients to benefit from the expertise of UofL Physicians and our clinical teams.”
Construction is expected to begin this spring, with the tower opening to its first patients in early 2024.
Financing for the project will involve a mixture of internal capital investment, tax-free bond financing, hospital revenue bonds and private donations. Those interested in supporting the project are encouraged to visit UofLHealth.org/Giving.