In response to ongoing demand, Erie County Medical Center is planning a $12.5 million renovation to expand its orthopedics program.
The hospital filed plans with the state Department of Health for an expanded ortho program on the sixth floor in space previously used for a skilled-nursing unit.
According to the state filing, the floor will include 22 private patient rooms, a physical therapy rehabilitation area, space for pre-surgery orthopedic educational classes as well as additional space for resident interaction and teaching.
ECMC pointed to orthopedic surgical volume growth from 1,824 cases in 2011 to 2,069 last year, with joint procedures increasing from 508 cases to 815.
But the hospital also cited competitive reasons for the expansion, mentioning the creation of similar units at both Buffalo General Medical Center and Kenmore Mercy Hospital - illustrating the growing need in the community. An expanded unit at ECMC would also help in retaining and recruiting new orthopedic physicians.
ECMC moved a hospital-based skilled nursing unit out of the building a year ago and into the 390-bed Terrace View Longterm Care Facility on campus.
The orthopedics project, which will require an administrative review by the DOH, follows a $4 million expansion in 2010 that replaced a 25-year-old occupational therapy area. At the time, ECMC cited volume growth over three years of 35 percent, with projections for similar growth to continue through 2013.