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Saint Joseph-London Prepares to Move Hospital One Patient at a Time

With support from surrounding counties’ EMS teams, patients will transfer to the new replacement hospital every three minutes

After more than a year of training, planning and preparation, the staff of Saint Joseph – London is preparing for the patient transfer to the brand new hospital. At 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 19, staff members will begin moving patients one-by-one from the existing downtown hospital to the new replacement facility located off I-75 at Exit 38. Both hospitals will remain operational during the entire move to provide seamless and uninterrupted patient care.


The orchestration of detail and manpower has been planned down to the minute. Patients will be transferred by ambulance (at no cost to them). “The process is timed so that patients will leave the emergency department at the existing facility every three minutes and the entire patient transfer should be completed within just a few hours,” said Virginia Dempsey, President of Saint Joseph – London. “We cannot wait to welcome our patients and their loved ones into this incredible new healing environment.”

In order to complete the move in a just few hours, the normal staff size will nearly double. With the increased staffing and early start time, it is expected the move could end around 9:00 a.m. The emergency department will be the last area to transfer; remaining patients will be treated on-site and admitted patients will be transferred to the new facility.

The new hospital is already stocked with necessary supplies and equipment. Items that could be moved ahead of time are in place along with new technology across the hospital. Non-patient care and administrative offices began moving August 9.

With support from Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County, Jackson County EMS, Whitley County EMS and Knox County EMS, patients will travel down 9th Street, Main Street and 16th Street (Parker Rd.) to reach the new hospital. Saint Joseph – London has worked with local and state police for assistance with navigating through traffic, as well as the local health department and school superintendent. The public is asked to avoid the area if possible to help ensure patients are transported safely and quickly.

“A secondary benefit of the complex move will be that the process will also serve as disaster management training for Saint Joseph – London,” Dempsey said. “It’s not often that you evacuate an entire hospital.” Evaluators, including representatives from the local health department and Region Eleven Hospital Preparedness Planning group, will observe the move.

Saint Joseph – London’s new $152 million, 340,000-square-foot regional facility is nearly double the hospital’s existing size and will allow for the expansion of several service lines, including cardiology, OB-GYN and orthopedics. Bed capacity will increase from 89 to 120 licensed beds. Outpatient spaces will expand allowing Saint Joseph – London to treat more outpatients from the local and surrounding areas. The top floor of the hospital, the sixth floor, is shelled in for future expansion.

The hospital features the latest technology, expansive interior spaces, all private rooms, and a healing environment with a small lake and garden landscapes on a 52-acre campus. Saint Joseph – London employs more than 1,000 individuals.

Plans for the existing facility on 9th Street are being discussed by Saint Joseph Health System’s executive team.

To learn more about the new Saint Joseph – London, visit www.SaintJosephLondon.org.

Saint Joseph – London is a member of Saint Joseph Health System, a 981-bed, eight-facility health care system that spans central and eastern Kentucky. Saint Joseph Health System is a member of Catholic Health Initiatives, the nation’s second-largest Catholic health care system. Visit www.SaintJosephHealthSystem.org for further information.

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Posted August 16, 2010

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