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Expanding Gwinnett Medical Center

A "Crane Christening" was held Tuesday, a ceremony representing the beginning of the Gwinnett Medical Center's expansion. A five-story tower that will have room for 155 beds will be added to the Lawrenceville medical center along with various other renovations and technological upgrades.

Below are comments and talking points from speeches given by members of the Gwinnett Hospital System during the ceremony:

JOHN RIDDLE

VP of Marketing and Development

Gwinnett Hospital System

We're well along the path of planning to meet the needs of our county. Our clinical quality is advancing, and now we're proud to say we're transforming our facilities and capacity.

Our current tower has served us well for more than 20 years, but times have certainly changed - most notably technology and population. We've kept up well with technology, but the population has vastly outgrown our capacity.

But now, the transformation of our facilities has begun. It will take time but will loosen the restraints that come with overcrowding.

The first step is Gwinnett Medical Center - Duluth, which opened last fall.

The next step is the construction in Lawrenceville, which will be ready to serve our community in 2009.

Upon completion you will see:

• A new patient tower that will be eight-stories tall.

• 155 beds and the latest medical technology and patient conveniences.

• Patient/family suites on each floor.

• Patient rooms almost twice the size of the current hospital rooms with a lot of natural light.

• Decentralized nursing stations.

• Four separate intensive care units, each with a different specialty-care focus.

• Five specialty-care centers, including Orthopedics & Neuroscience, a Joint Replacement Center, a Spine Center and a Cardiovascular Center.

• Each floor will include a 24-hour receptionist, room service, family/guest suites and family information centers.

• The Surgical Suite will undergo a complete renovation and will have operating rooms dedicated to orthopedics, neurosurgery and vascular surgery.

Gwinnett deserves and expects the best. And we're confident this state-of-the-art facility will exceed those expectations and will open the door to new medical possibilities never before seen - but very much needed and deserved - in our community.

DR. MILES MASON

President, medical staff

Gwinnett Hospital System

Just as planning to meet the ever-growing needs is essential, ensuring the quality of that health care is the very best is a must. That's why we're focused on continually advancing the quality of the care we deliver.

In the past several years, clinical quality at GMC has taking a major step forward:

• Ranked top 5 percent in the nation in Clinical Excellence by HealthGrades, as well as top 5 percent in the nation in pulmonary care.

• First hospital in Georgia with a fully-accredited continuum of acute stroke care.

• First hospital in Georgia to have an accredited chest pain center.

• Recipient of the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.

• VHA Award for Community Benefits Excellence.

• Solucient Insight Award for Exceptional Clinical Improvement.

These recognitions prove that we have already begun advancing our clinical quality.

But more needs to be done. A major obstacle is overcrowding. Our emergency rooms continue to see over 100,000 patients per year. No other hospital in the nation has this many visits with the limited number of hospital beds we have.

The solution is more beds, more room for these physicians and clinical staff to be able to serve our population's health care needs.

WAYNE SIKES

Chairman of the board of directors

Gwinnett Health System

Your health care. That's what this is all about: ensuring that you have the best health care services. Having a vision to transform health care is one thing. Implementing it is quite another.

Current plans in the project require $428 million in capital expansion needs. Even more needs will follow. To succeed, we must do all we can to borrow, earn and raise funds to meet these needs.

There has already been a great foundation of community support - more than $2 million raised to fund GMC - Duluth and $25 million in financial assistance from the Gwinnett County Commissioners.

Outside of my duties here as chair of the board, I have a family. You have a family, too. You have friends and loved ones who will one day walk through the doors of this new patient tower, who will need the highest quality of care from this hospital.

What would happen to them if this hospital were not here? Quality health care is not a right nor a guarantee. It is a privilege.

We must do all we can as a community to ensure that we will have quality health care, here at Gwinnett Medical Center, for our families, our spouses, our children and our grandchildren. It is simply not an option.

This is a path we must travel, and we must travel it together.

PHIL WOLFE

President and Chief Operating Officer

Gwinnett Hospital System

Gwinnett Medical Center has an incredible vision for the future, a vision that will transform health care in our community and ensure that the very best care is available for every patient we serve.

Fulfilling this vision will solidify Gwinnett Medical Center as one of the premier major medical centers in the southeast and will literally transform health care in Gwinnett.

Since 1984, Gwinnett County has only added about 200 new hospital beds. In that same period of time, Gwinnett has added more than half a million new residents.

In 1984, Gwinnett's population was 226,000 and there were 426 hospital beds. Today in Gwinnett, the population is greater than 750,000, and there are 611 hospital beds. Our neighbors in Cobb County have nearly 100,000 fewer residents but have more than 800 more hospital beds.

These numbers show that fulfilling our vision to transform health care is sorely needed and is not optional.

Project PATH is what we're doing to fulfill this vision:

• Planning to meet our community's constantly growing health care needs.

• Advancing medical technology and clinical excellence.

• Transforming our facilities and expanding capacity.

Our plans include, but are not limited to:

• New facilities, such as this new patient tower.

• New services not yet offered to the Gwinnett community.

• Continued progression of our excellence in clinical quality.

• Possible expansion into north Gwinnett area.

• Ensuring the best technology is available right here in Gwinnett.

• Building a growing roster of top quality physicians.

Clinical excellence is the heart of our vision. Our physicians are the foundation of our success.

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