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Via Christi launches $50 million renovation of its St. Joseph campus

St. Joseph rendering

Ascension Via Christi, a part of Ascension, has begun a $50 million renovation of Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph, which for decades has been the area’s leading provider of family care.

Renovation plans for the Project Renewal initiative include:

  • Converting the hospital’s medical-surgical units to private patient rooms—complementing the large, private labor and delivery rooms and renovation that has already taken place throughout St. Joseph’s 4th-floor NewLife Center;
  • Expanding and improving on-call space for family medicine, surgery and psychiatry residents doing rotations at the hospital;
  • And consolidating Via Christi’s inpatient behavioral health services in dedicated, state-of-the-art space on the hospital’s 6th and 7th floors and centralizing its outpatient services, now delivered primarily at St. Joseph and the aging Ascension Via Christi Behavioral Health Center on Orme Street, in medical office space adjacent to the hospital.

“This investment in St. Joseph is part of an exciting new chapter for Via Christi and Ascension—one that extends beyond new bricks and mortar,” said Mike Mullins, Via Christi CEO and Kansas ministry market leader for Ascension. “We’re also designing a model of care that better integrates inpatient and outpatient services to create a center of holistic family healing for generations to come.”

OB/GYN Brooke Grizzell, MD, who serves as a laborist at St. Joseph’s NewLife Center and as president of the medical staff for Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals, said that the renovation will help further the quality of care and the patient and family experience.

“The care environment has a significant impact on how patients, families and their caregivers perceive their experience,” said Grizzell. “As a physician, I’m thrilled to see this renovation take place.”

Psychiatrist Moneeshindra Mittal, MD, who serves as medical director for Via Christi’s Behavioral Health service line, agreed, noting, “The renovation and redesign of our care model will significantly enhance behavioral health, which is an important component of family care.”

The project, which also will include a therapeutic recreational center for adolescent and adult patients, will be done in stages, but is expected to be complete by late 2018.

“St. Joseph has long been a leader and innovator in family care,” said Laurie Labarca, who began her healthcare career at St. Joseph 31 years ago and today serves as its president. “Our new model will make us better equipped to provide that care at the right time and in the best possible environment for every patient.”

Via Christi and Ascension have budgeted the capital needed to move forward with the project, but the community’s help is needed to fully actualize the vision for the campus and the patients and families it will serve, said Lyndon “Lyndy” Wells, a Ascension Via Christi board member and chair of its Philanthropy Committee.

Monica Coen, Via Christi’s chief philanthropy officer, along with Wells and other members of the Philanthropy Committee, have already begun raising dollars for unbudgeted aspects of the project.

Father Mike Simone, who serves as chancellor for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and director of vocations, was one of the first donors.

“If you’ve ever had a loved one affected by a mental health issue, and if you’ve ever watched them get better and have been with them in both states, you can’t help but want to give to a project like this,” said Father Mike.

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