COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Missouri Orthopedic Institute nearly doubled in size Thursday when MU Health leaders opened an expansion of the facility.
The 85,000-square-foot expansion will help accommodate more patients for the growing number of people seeking the institute's help. The facility will now have 12 operating rooms and 42 inpatient beds -- more than doubling the 20 beds it had previously.
"Bed capacity has been really tight at the University of Missouri [hospitals], so it really allows us to add more people," Dr. Jim Stannard, head of the Missouri Orthopedic Institute, told ABC 17 News.
In a news release, MU Health CEO Jonathan Curtright said visits to the Missouri Orthopedic Institute increased by more than 13,000 last year compared to 2011.
The institute will also have a new research lab on the fourth floor and an improved layout for patients to navigate the facility. Stannard said the expansion also includes a new chiropractic center, a service the system did not offer before.
Missouri Orthopedic Institute's growth mirrors that of other services MU Health offers. Births and emergency room visits have already exceeded the expected amount for the fiscal year, and MU Health began expanding its emergency room earlier this year.
MU Health is in exclusive negotiations to take over the lease at Boone Hospital Center, a Boone County-owned community hospital with several hundred beds. While no decision has been made yet, Stannard said a partnership with the doctors at Boone Hospital would only strengthen the area's ability to become a regional leader in orthopedic care.
"You have some really skilled and very, very good private physicians and orthopedics," Stannard said. "Our colleagues at the Columbia Orthopedic Group are quite good. So if you started mixing together things, you could potentially see a time where [further expansion] could be needed."
The Missouri Orthopedic Institute has also seen about 200 new patients for its BioJoint transplant procedure, according to Stannard. Doctors are monitoring the progress of those patients, Stannard said, which will have a year of long term follow up.