Health Care Checkup: Is a new hospital coming to north St. Louis?

The Health Care Checkup, a weekly rundown of the state’s top health care headlines, is sponsored by Heyen Wellness Therapies.


Taking the Pulse

Paul McKee, developer behind the North St. Louis redevelopment project | Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Paul McKee | Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

McKee’s north St. Louis hospital development moves ahead

St. Louis-based developer Paul McKee, who has worked for years on plans to revitalize the city’s north side, moved another step closer to realizing another component of that revival: medical services. McKee submitted plans for a three-bed, $6.8 million emergency care hospital to the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee. Because Missouri requires a certificate of need for hospitals before building approval is granted, McKee submitted reports from the St. Louis City Department of Health as well as letters from Mayor Francis Slay and Department of Health Director Pamela Walker as part of his application.

If the plan is approved, McKee hopes to break ground on the hospital in spring 2015. The facility is projected to see as many as 7,800 patients in its first year of operation.

Epic Medical Concepts gets FDA approval

The Food and Drug Administration approved a new product by Epic Medical Concepts & Innovations Inc. in Mission, Kan., that could significantly reduce costs for dental offices. The product, called the FlexiLume Dental LED System, is meant to replace the overhead and handheld lights currently used by dentists. According to Epic co-founder and chief operating officer Peter Lucas, FlexiLume’s LEDs cost about 10 percent as much as systems currently in place in dental offices — a savings, he estimates, of $18,000 to $27,000. In addition, the new light system is designed to be easier on patients’ eyes.

KCUMB goes into biomedical research

A new player is joining the realm of university medical research. The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences announced a change in strategic focus toward research with the hiring of Dr. Jingsong Zhou, who is well known for her research work on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Dr. Zhou’s arrival is the first step in KCUMB’s five-year plan for hiring new staff and collaborating with other universities to improve its profile as a research institution, though there is no official word yet on specific plans for the university’s future hires. In addition to doing research work, Zhou will also teach physiology in the school’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Stat of the Week: 1,882

That’s the number of falls by patients in Missouri hospitals last year that resulted in injuries, including 262 broken bones. Those figures come from the latest annual report released by the Missouri Center for Patient Safety. Hospitals in Missouri currently volunteer information on incidents of this kind and others to the center, although the names of the hospitals involved are not disclosed. Given recent data that suggests staying in a hospital in Missouri costs, on average, almost $2,000 per day, those in-hospital injuries add significant burden to insurers and their customers.

Quote of the Week

“The need for something like this has always existed. Out-of-pocket costs, which is the deductible, co-pay, will continue to rise very significantly over the next five years.”

— Paul Sahney, vice president of revenue management for SSM Health Care, on the company’s partnership with Commerce Bank to offer interest- and credit-check-free loans to patients who need help paying off their medical bills. About $6.5 million has been lent out to 4,000 patients since the loans began in March.

Tweet of the Week

Although Cerner makes the list for another year, its No. 22 slot on the list is down from No. 13 last year and No. 14 in 2012.


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