To further the organization’s care model, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has engaged in more than $2 billion worth of facility design and construction at its main campus and suburban locations in the past four years.

“All of it is coordinated to provide higher acuity care closer to the patient’s home in the safest appropriate venue,” says Douglas Carney, senior vice president for facilities, real estate, planning, design and construction, CHOP. “It’s all perfectly aligned with our strategy to provide the right care at the right time in the right place.”

The Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care, a 12-story, 700,000-sq. ft. ambulatory care center built across the street from CHOP’s main hospital, is in the midst of a phased opening that started in July and will continue through December as various subspecialties move to the new building. The Buerger Center is designed so that four more floors, or an additional 175,000 sq. ft., can be added as future needs dictate.

CHOP also completed three new suburban facilities this year, each designed for future growth. In January, the hospital opened a 25,000-sq. ft. specialty care center on the campus of the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, N.J. A master plan for expanding this facility to about four times its current size has been preapproved, Carney says. In late May, the hospital opened a 115,000-sq. ft. specialty care and surgery center in King of Prussia, Pa., that includes 25,000 sq. ft. of shelled space. And in August, the hospital began providing specialty care at a new 40,000-sq. ft. facility in Glen Mills, Pa. This center, which is designed to double in size, debuted surgical services in September.

In addition, CHOP is collaborating with the city of Philadelphia to build the Community Health and Literacy Center in South Philadelphia. This is a public-private partnership for providing health care, literacy and recreation services in one location. The center will include CHOP primary care, a city health center, a public library and a recreation center. Carney expects the hospital to start seeing patients at the facility in March.

A standard clinical platform is used at all of CHOP’s new ambulatory care facilities. With this design, the same physicians can serve patients at multiple facilities throughout the week, providing a uniform level of care across the system. When a doctor is at another location, flexible clinic space can be used by a different clinician. “The idea that a subspecialist owns the exam room is something we’re really moving away from,” Carney says.

As outpatient services develop, the hospital is turning toward redesigning its inpatient model. “We’re right at the beginning of looking at restacking the entire hospital,” which has 535 licensed beds, Carney says. Two main considerations of this effort are an expected increase at the facility in both patient acuity and private patient rooms.

For more on healing facility design, read our story on pediatric hospitals next week on