The Baptist Health Board of Directors recently approved a $225 million business plan from Baptist Health Hardin to build a new outpatient medical pavilion behind the hospital’s existing facility at 913 N. Dixie Ave. in Elizabethtown.

According to a news release, the 282,000-square-foot building, about 75 percent of the existing hospital in size, will be constructed in phases over the next three years. Detailed plans and schematics will be available in the coming months, officials said.

When Baptist Health and Hardin County struck a deal for the hospital’s sale, the release said the health system promised to invest $235 million in the hospital over a decade, with $150 million to be spent in the first five years.

With this project, coupled with the new electronic medical record system launched last month, Baptist Health has far exceeded its promised investments to date, the release said.

“We know the vital role that Baptist Health Hardin plays in its region, caring for more than 400,000 Central Kentuckians, and the community’s need for this critically important outpatient medical pavilion,” said Baptist Health CEO Gerard Colman in the release. “We want to send a clear message that we want to strengthen and fuel Baptist Health Hardin’s tremendous growth.”

Dennis Johnson, hospital president and CEO, said BHH’s increase in patient volumes over the last 10 years, experienced across the system in everything from surgeries, outpatient registrations, emergency department visits and more, shows no signs of slowing down and underscored the need for updated facilities and equipment.

“This outpatient medical pavilion will offer patients the latest and best in one convenient location and aid in recruiting the best medical talent,” he said in the release.

The outpatient medical pavilion will house a new comprehensive cancer care center with all patient services together for the first time, 12 new surgical suites including a hybrid operating room, a multidisciplinary outpatient medical office building to accommodate new physicians and specialists, and even patient-centric spaces designed to promote emotional and spiritual healing.

Most of Baptist Health Hardin’s existing medical offices, diagnostic centers and locations will remain as is across its 10-county service area and a few, such as the existing cancer center on Robinbrooke Drive in Elizabethtown, will be repurposed to house other specialties after the pavilion’s completion, the release said.

“Hardin Memorial Health performed well financially year after year, but our Board of Trustees grappled with how to accommodate the rapidly growing number of patients, to finance the latest equipment, the best and very expensive Epic electronic medical record system, and with how to meet all the health system’s need for capital improvements,” Hardin County Judge-Executive and current Chairman of the Baptist Health Hardin Board Harry Berry said in the release. “Our former hospital board worked hard to negotiate the best possible future during the sale negotiations and Baptist Health promised $361.4 million in payments and investments total.”

Just since September 2020 when the sale closed, the release said Baptist Health has invested more than $275 million in the health care of the community.

Baptist Health Hardin will break ground on the new facility and release detailed plans in the coming months. The project, which will be constructed in stages, is anticipated to be complete in 2025.

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