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2018 Year in Review: Hospitals in Woodlands’ ‘Medical Center North’ stay busy, aid community

December 26, 2018

It was a busy year for hospitals and the health care industry in The Woodlands.

For CHI St. Luke’s Health The Woodlands Hospital, Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital and Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, their locations in the fastest growing part of Montgomery County means that more sophisticated patients are seeking out a rising level of health care quality.

Here is a look at some of the big stories in 2018 from the “medical center north,” in The Woodlands.

CHI St. Luke’s Health The Woodlands Hospital

For CHI St. Luke’s Health The Woodlands Hospital, their 15th year of existence brought the arrival of a new CEO, and the expansion of several existing care programs.

“As the community has grown, so have we,” said Jim Parisi, the president of CHI St. Luke’s Health-The Woodlands and Lakeside hospitals. “Being on the corner (of Interstate 45 and Texas 242), with all the medical care available, it brings more people to this part of town seeking higher levels of care.”

In 2018, hired a medical director for its breast oncology program and expanded its comprehensive stroke center and inpatient and outpatient rehab

“Instead of going to (TIRR Memorial Hermann) or (the Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Cypress), you can stay here,” Parisi said. “You don’t have to go anywhere else.”

The hospital opened its Heartburn & Acid Reflux Institute at the end of 2017 to treat acid reflux — the regurgitation of food through the esophagus — and its most common symptom, heartburn.

By October, the overwhelming response to the new LINX Reflux Management System available at the institute necessitated the addition of nurse practitioner Vanessa Hargett to assist surgical direct Dr. Yong Choi in processing patients.

“He’s really growing that program well,” Parisi said. “We’ve had great successes there.”

The accolades also rolled in for St. Lukes-The Woodlands this year.

The hospital was awarded the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR ACTION Registry Silver Performance Achievement Award for its care of heart attack patients and, along with CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport, was given an “A” patient safety rating from the Leapfrog Group, an organization that monitors patient safety in hospitals around the country.

In expansion of the cardiological care at the hospital, St. Luke’s is renovating its two existing cardiology catheterization laboratories — facilities where doctors can monitors the inner workings of patients’ hearts — and opening four more on-site by June 2019.

The hospital is also expanding its women’s health and maternity department in 2019, renovating its six labor and delivery rooms and adding two more.

Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital

Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital opened less than a year and a half ago, but the new hospital’s growth is comparable to the older ones in the area.

The hospital celebrated its first birthday in June with a party featuring the first baby born there, just hours after it opened. By then, Methodist’s Breast Center had become a Breast Imaging Center for Excellence and its Childbirth Center was named a Level 3 NICU care facility, able to care for the most delicate and ill of newborns. By June, the hospital had installed the world’s smallest Pacemaker and performed the first cardiac MRI in the north Houston area.

In October, doctors at the Institute for Reconstructive Surgery performed the first in-hospital 3D Tattoo nipple and areola reconstruction in greater Houston.

“(This) was a fantastic year for us, said Trent Fulin, Houston Methodist The Woodlands’ vice president of operations. “All service lines experienced great growth.”

On Dec. 17, surgeons at the hospital performed its 95th open heart surgery — shortly after, Methodist received a Hip and Knee Replacement Certification from DNL GV Healthcare after completing 700 procedures.

Big plans are still ahead for 2019 and beyond.

Houston Methodist The Woodlands is adding five operation rooms in the next year and building a standalone rehab and sports medicine center, expected to be completed by November.

“It’s been a wonderful, busy year for us,” Fulin said. “We’ll continue to expand our primary care presence in Montgomery County as well.”

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center

At Memorial Hermann, 2019 brings the culmination of more than $50 million in expansion and resource investments begun in the years prior.

The hospital broke ground on a dedicated spine unit in 2018 and is adding 36 beds to a dedicated neuroscience floor and expanding the neonatal intensive care unit by 10 beds — bringing the total amount of inpatient beds to 400 by next summer. In 2019, the hospital will complete the construction of an expanded operating room capacity, bringing the total number to 20, including one for cesarean sections.

“Across the board, all of our volume indicators are trending up,” said Josh Urban, CEO of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center.

The hospital has seen growth in almost every department, Urban said. Admissions and adjusted admissions are rising and the demand has led the hospital to plan more parking on-site and is growing its Family Birth Center in the west tower of the hospital.

Memorial Hermann’s Canopy Center, a comprehensive care facility for patients suffering from cancer and a support facility for those in recovery, has grown in admissions and programs as well, Urban said.

“People are doing a disservice if they don’t mention Canopy to someone suffering from cancer,” Urban added.

mrincon@chron.com

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