Next LevelHarris Health

FAQ for the new LBJ Hospital

A: The healthcare needs of residents in northeast Houston and Harris County continue to increase along with our growing population. We’re seeing this in our emergency center and the high demand for bed space. Additionally, LBJ Hospital is 33 years old and is reaching its end of useful service and is more difficult and expensive to maintain its function up to hospital code to support appropriate patient care compared to newer facilities. For these reasons, Harris Health leadership is taking steps to build a new LBJ Hospital with at least double the bed space (400-600 beds) and capacity to expand services to better serve the needs of the community.

A: The new LBJ Hospital will have more beds for patient care. Currently, the hospital has 215 beds. The new hospital will open with 390 operational beds. However, the building will have the ability to expand up to 450 beds in the future, if needed.

A: Currently, LBJ Hospital has 215 inpatient beds, most are double occupancy rooms with a shared bathroom. The new hospital will have 390 single occupancy rooms with their own bathroom and shower. Each new room is approximately 330 square feet.

A: The structure of LBJ Hospital was built in 1989 and is reaching the end of useful service and requires regular repairs and maintenance. Expected costs to maintain the facility, at new inpatient care standards, will increase as the facility continues to age. Therefore, operational costs to maintain the building to national hospital code is expected to outweigh the cost to build a new hospital.

A: The current LBJ Hospital was not designed to have buildings connect to it directly. A number of structural engineering requirements would have needed to have been in place from the beginning to support that type of expansion. Additionally, any expansion of the current building would mean closing down many hospital beds and functions for months and years to keep it safe and operational during construction. For these reasons, we propose building a new LBJ Hospital that keeps the current building in use while the new one is being built.

A: No, we will continue to serve the community while construction of a new LBJ Hospital is built on the same campus. Harris Health owns the property and is in the process of acquiring adjoining land for the construction of the new hospital and various buildings to better serve the community.

A: The cost of a new hospital is significant. We currently estimate that it will cost about $1.6 billion to construct. Currently, LBJ Hospital has 215 licensed beds. We plan to build a new hospital with 400-600 beds to serve the community.

A: Hospital construction is expensive. There are many state and federal regulatory requirements and guidelines for proper construction of a hospital to ensure the safety of patients, staff and the community.

A: We anticipate the hospital will be completed around 2028. A final date for completion will depend on several factors including final decisions on architectural plans and securing funds.

A: Finalizing architectural plans and securing funds can take months and years to get approvals. Additionally, construction alone can take 5-7 years.

A: A new hospital will be built on the same campus next to the existing LBJ Hospital. LBJ Hospital will continue to operate and deliver services while construction of the new facility is underway. After the new hospital is completed, the existing LBJ Hospital will be used for other (yet to be determined) purposes.

A: Yes, the new LBJ Hospital will have significantly more beds for patient care and more space for an expanded emergency center, additional trauma services, and specialty care for cardiology, neurology, psychiatry and more cancer services.

A: Harris Health continues to seek partnerships that will bring our community access to top ranked cancer care in Houston. We currently have programs to support cancer patients thanks to our affiliation with MD Anderson Cancer Center and UTHealth Houston.

A: Yes, the new LBJ Hospital will have larger maternity rooms that offer a private bathroom and shower along with an infant area so mom and baby can remain together after labor.

A: The new LBJ Hospital will be focused on acute care services. Many services like eye/ear exams and addiction counseling are most appropriately accessed through our primary care clinics and health centers coordinated by our Ambulatory Care Services. We do offer some specialty outpatient services at LBJ Hospital currently in our Outpatient Center. We do not have plans to offer pediatrics at our new hospital. Inpatient pediatric care will continue to be directed to other hospitals with specialization in this area. There are a number of other providers in the community offering pediatric care (including some Harris Health family practice clinics and health centers such as Acres Home Health Center and Cleveland E. Odom Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center).

A: Yes, Harris Health offers a variety of psychiatric and mental health services through its network of clinics and health centers. At the new LBJ Hospital, these services will be expanded to possibly include emergency psychiatric care and more inpatient beds. Harris Health is committed to providing mental health services at its facilities while also working with community partners to offer these services to those most in need.

A: Harris Health has partnered with industry leaders who have experience guiding organizations to develop new hospitals that effectively meet the needs of their patients, staff and communities.

A: Our proposed new hospital footprint with an entrance off Lockwood Drive will mean relocating our current one-acre Community Farm to a larger two-acre spot right off Kelley Street. The new farm will allow greater fruit and seasonal vegetable production. Plans call for splitting the farm into a working farm and tree orchard section. The Food Farmacy will not be affected by the new construction. It will remain at its present location within the legacy building.

A: We anticipate wait times will improve with an expansion of the emergency center in the new facility. Our efforts continue to focus on educating the public about the proper use of emergency centers. Our Ambulatory Care Services Division is working to ensure patients are informed of how to access non-emergency care in the most appropriate setting so emergency centers are only used by patients with true emergencies.

A: A new LBJ Hospital will allow us to build a larger and more efficient emergency center that can accommodate more patients and offer greater services. Among the additional services being considered for the new hospital is creating a Level I Trauma Center, the highest level of care for trauma and penetrating injuries. A larger footprint for emergency care will allow staff to accommodate the residents of Harris County for years to come.

A:. The size of the emergency center can no longer support the number of patients we serve. With the new hospital, emergency services would be expanded to fit the expected population growth and better serve our community.

A: The new waiting areas of the new LBJ Hospital emergency center will more than double in size. The current waiting area seats approximately 60 people, while the new waiting area of 3,400 square feet will accommodate about 170 people.

A: Harris Health leadership is considering making the new LBJ Hospital a Level I Trauma Center. This decision has many implications and requires due diligence. Maintaining a Level I Trauma Center means a shared commitment with our medical school partner, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston—a nationally ranked leader in the expertise of trauma care—to staff and equip the center with necessary technology and specialized experts from a variety of fields at the hospital 24/7 every day of the year. While a Level I Trauma Center benefits the entire county, the proximity to residents in the northeast part of Houston ensures this level of trauma care is available to this area.

A: Level I trauma care is the highest level of life-saving care available for persons involved in automobile crashes, victims of crime or industrial accidents. For those needing this type of care, the options are few in Houston/Harris County. According to the American College of Surgeons (ACS)—a leading advocate for trauma and surgical care—a community should maintain a Level I Trauma Center for every 1 million population. In Houston/Harris County, there are currently two (2) Level I Trauma Centers. With a fluctuating population of nearly 5 million people, Houston/Harris County should have at least five Level I Trauma Centers according to ACS standards. The possible addition of a Level I Trauma Center at new LBJ Hospital will bolster our support for the trauma care needs of our entire community.

A: Our goal is to work with METRO as they evaluate bus routes that enhance access to LBJ Hospital. Current plans call for LBJ Hospital to be a prominent destination on METRO’s new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) University Line.

A: While some free parking for patients and visitors may be available at the new LBJ Hospital, many of the existing parking lots are managed by an independent parking vendor. As such, Harris Health does not currently have control of pricing. However, as we continue to evolve campus planning, hospital leadership is actively seeking options to reduce or eliminate parking costs for our patients and visitors.

A: Yes, there are plans for multiple garages to ensure patients, visitors and staff have sufficient parking access.

A: The safety of patients, visitors and staff is a top priority for Harris Health. Our security force including a mix of certified law enforcement officers will be strategically located across our campus including our parking areas. Through a combination of surveillance and frequent patrols, we want to ensure the safety of everyone visiting or working on our hospital campus.

A: Yes, more accessible connections between parking areas and access to the hospital and specialty services are important factors in the design plans. Right now, the current average walking distance from the parking lot to the hospital entrance is 800 feet. Visitors are welcome to drop patients off at the front of the hospital entrance and then park in the parking lot or parking garage. The new patient and visitor parking garage is being designed to expand in the future.

A: The parking for the campus is managed through a third-party vendor. Harris Health is actively working with the vendor who manages the parking on the campus to obtain discounts for patients who are most in need.

A: LBJ Hospital currently has approximately 2,300 parking spaces. The new campus will provide an estimated 3,750 parking spaces, each with improved access to buildings and services. The new patient and visitor garage will be designed to expand in the future.

A: Harris Health is working closely with our partners from Metro to ensure a dedicated bus stop on the LBJ Hospital campus. Metro is currently developing the University Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line that will run directly in front of the proposed new entrance to the hospital off Lockwood Drive. Additionally, we are designing dedicated drop-off and pick-up sites that are convenient for patients, visitors and ride-share services.

A: Harris Health understands how important it is to have appropriate signage to direct patients and visitors throughout our facility. The new LBJ Hospital will have inclusive signage that features graphic and multi-lingual messaging. Our hope is to provide clear directions for all populations including the visually, hearing and physically impaired.

A: Harris Health understands the importance of providing a healing environment for everyone entering our hospital campus. There are proposed garden spaces and walking paths, as well as a proposed terrace on the second floor to offer glimpses of nature and the outdoors. Additionally, family consult rooms will be available on every floor.

A: The Houston Public Library participates in the current community alliance meetings with our hospital staff. Harris Health is actively developing relationships with other area community partners to address community needs for literacy and reading programs.

A: With patients and visitors in mind, Harris Health will have a number of food and restaurant options available at the new hospital. These eateries will offer a variety of food selections including healthy and comfort food. Additionally, we anticipate a number of new businesses including restaurants to open up in the area because of the new hospital expansion and new Metro bus line.

A: Harris Health wants its facilities to reflect the community it serves. We also know creating healing environments requires a combination of aesthetically pleasing features such as art and tranquil settings. As such, we welcome the opportunity to partner with local artists and crafts people to contribute to our healing environment.

A: As a responsible steward of the community’s trust, Harris Health is committed to ensure the safety of patients, visitors, workers as well as the area’s residents, with all of its work. For the new construction, Harris Health is following strict local, state and federal guidelines and regulations set forth by agencies like the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As a further commitment to safety, we are currently working to hire a third-party testing agency to monitor our construction project to flag any environmental concerns.

A: Harris Health knows that flooding in the area is a major concern. The new hospital is being built to not affect the flooding situation of the area. Through a combination of detention ponds and added green space, we anticipate a reduction of water runoff into area neighborhoods. Harris Health also will be a partner with city and county efforts to address the flooding concerns of the community.

A: We are always hiring nurses. Market pressures make hiring nurses a challenge for institutions across the country (not just Harris Health). In addition to hiring nurses, we are working on programs that help us grow a nursing pipeline from within. One example of an innovative program to grow our own staff is our Patient Care Assistant (PCA) Program. Our PCA Program takes existing staff from within Harris Health who are interested in learning a new patient care skill as well as local community members (including students from Barbara Jordan High School) and trains them to become PCAs, then offers them positions within our hospitals. With this program, we fill vacant positions and we create job opportunities within the local community.

A: We’re very proud of our nurses and their accomplishments. Their work is evident with the dual recognition of Magnet®, one of the highest nursing professional honors in the U.S., at both LBJ and Ben Taub hospitals. Harris Health continually invests in developing our nursing talent to better serve our communities. We recently opened the Lois J. Moore Center for Nursing Excellence to develop our nursing professionals and improve their nursing skills. We also expect that construction of a new LBJ Hospital will attract new nursing talent to Harris Health. We continue to offer competitive salaries and benefits. We are always looking for talented nurses who share our values and patient-focused mission, and welcome referrals of talented healthcare professionals to  http://jobs.harrishealth.org

A: Yes, LBJ Hospital staff actively seek opportunities to promote health and wellness and make efforts to reduce any barriers to accessing healthcare services. Our staff also partner with other community-based organizations to assist with these efforts.

A: The new LBJ Hospital promises to strengthen the collaboration of Harris Health with its medical school partners from McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Each of these renowned partners will have a strong presence at the new LBJ Hospital to provide expanded and enhanced services to our community. Harris Health does have a medical school affiliation with the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine at the University of Houston, but only for its Correctional Health Program at the Harris County Jail. These physician partners ensure individuals in custody are cared for and can transition into appropriate healthcare once released.

A: Yes, detained individuals from the Harris County Jail that require hospital care will be seen at the new LBJ Hospital. We are proud to offer services to all residents of Harris County including those within the county jail. These are individuals that live in our communities and deserve the services provided by Harris Health. We also understand the safety concerns for our patients, visitors and staff. As such, we will establish a dedicated area for these detained individuals and are adding a number of security procedures and protocols with the goal of ensuring that everyone is safe. Harris Health is constantly evaluating and working with our partners from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies to provide a safe hospital campus.

A: There are no plans to expand Acres Home Health Center as a result of the new LBJ Hospital project. However, our Ambulatory Care Services division is always exploring ways to best use current clinics and health centers to best serve our community.

A: As one of the largest public healthcare systems (hospital districts) in Texas,Harris Health in Harris County has one of the lowest hospital district tax rates of the major county public healthcare systems in the state (Parkland in Dallas, University Health in Bexar and JPS in Tarrant). See below:

Texas Counties

Harris

Dallas

Bexar

Tarrant

Hospital District Taxes (2021 Tax Rates)

    

Maintenance & Operations Rate

$0.16047

$0.24331

$0.24096

$0.22355

Debt Service Rate

$0.00174

$0.01169

$0.03527

$0.00088

Hospital District Rate - per $100 Valuation

$0.16221

$0.25500

$0.27624

$0.22443

      

A: Harris Health proposes the use of voted bonds to finance the construction of a new LBJ hospital. Harris Health will formally request that Harris County Commissioners Court approve a bond referendum be placed on the ballot in the November 2023 election.

A: Once the entire $2.5 billion is issued over the next 10 years, the impact to the debt service tax rate is estimated at 2 cents or less. For an average homeowner (homes values at $300,000) this impact equates to less than $6 per month.

A: The hospital looks at the cost of medications and works with each patient on a case-by-case basis to identify solutions that can provide patients with access to the medications they need. Our clinical pharmacists actively work with our patients to find solutions to get their medicines in a timely manner, as well as at the lowest cost possible to patients.

A: Harris Health has led several initiatives through our Population Health, Hospitals and Pharmacy divisions to help our patients find access to affordable healthy food options. Our Food Farmacy Program provides food and nutritional education to patients participating in our chronic disease management program. We continue to collaborate with our community partners to find new and innovative ways to meet our patients’ healthcare needs inside our system and in their neighborhoods.

A: Once Harris County residents are approved for Harris Health’s Financial Assistance Program, their status applies at all Harris Health locations.

A: While medical care is not free at our facilities, Harris Health has a Financial Assistance Program for those who qualify. Based on your household income, you may qualify for partial financial assistance, on a sliding scale. To quality for Harris Health’s Financial Assistance Program, household income may not exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Harris County residents can apply for financial assistance harrishealth.org. Once on the website, click the “Am I Eligible” icon in the upper right hand corner. Harris County residents should follow the online instructions. Residents can apply online or print an application and mail it or drop it off at various locations. Please visit the Harris Health website (harrishealth.org) for the mailing address or drop-off location information.

A: Yes, Harris Health is committed to doing more business with locally owned businesses. We believe in supporting the LBJ Hospital and Harris County communities. Recently, the Harris Health Board of Trustees approved a new Minority Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program.

A: A Minority-or Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) is a business certified as a minority ownership or women-ownership (where 51% of the enterprise is operated and managed by a minority or women).

For purposes of Harris Health’s MWBE Program, we accept the City of Houston’s MBE and WBE certification, Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certifications from the State of Texas, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certifications from the Texas Unified Certification Program and eight certifications from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

If your company meets the 51% minority- or women-owned requirement, but is not currently certified please apply with one of the aforementioned agencies. You may also obtain some of these certifications through the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA www.wbea-texas.org) or the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC – Houston MSDC).

A: The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a for-profit enterprise that is independently owned and operated and not nationally dominant in its industry. Other specifications are based on either revenue or the number of people employed, and vary based on the industry. A small business meeting these requirements does not need a certification as this is a definition; however, the City of Houston provides SBE certification.

A Minority- or Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) at Harris Health is a business with one of the following certifications:

  • City of Houston’s MBE and WBE certification;
  • Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certifications from the State of Texas;
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certifications from the Texas Unified Certification Program;
  • 8(a) certification from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

A: Harris Health has negotiated with its prime contractor through the joint venture of Clark/Linbeck to engage with more local small businesses and a commitment of 35% MWBE participation in the new LBJ Hospital project.

A: You can learn more about all things related to the new LBJ Hospital Project at www.nextlevelharrishealth.org, or you may contact the following individuals:

Wes Wesley Stith
Clark Construction Group, LLC
[email protected]

Derek Holmes
Administrative Director, Contractor Diversity
Harris Health
[email protected]

A: Yes, we believe strongly in supporting our local community, particularly Houston-based, minority- and women-owned businesses. We hope to see several local businesses join this initiative to improve the health of our community. https://purchasing.harriscountytx.gov/Pages/Online-Solicitation-Opportunities.aspx

For more information on the LBJ Hospital project or to learn about the next community event, visit nextlevelharrishealth.org/lbj or call 866-463-9525.

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