Tonawanda News

October 10, 2013

Kenmore Mercy opens orthopedic center

KMH completes construction of new Knee & Hip Center

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Kenmore Mercy’s new $5.4 million orthopedic wing was unveiled this week at a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony in the hospital’s recently constructed south wing.

“The unit turned out very nice,” Kenmore Mercy President and CEO James Millard said. “It provides patients with more privacy and will help them get on the mend sooner.”

The 15,300-square-foot Knee & Hip Center, which is located above the hospital’s new emergency department, features 24 individual rooms, with private bathrooms and showers, as well as a visitors’ lounge, two centrally located nurses’ stations and a physical rehabilitation unit.

Construction on the center began in early 2013, after the hospital received approval for the project from the state in November 2012. The decision to expand was the result of high demand for orthopedic services in the area. The hospital performs about 2,500 operations per year, and more than half of those are inpatient, overnight procedures.

Last year, the hospital performed nearly 900 total knee and joint replacements, a 24 percent increase since 2004.

“Our knee and hip procedures have grown significantly over the past nine years,” Dr. Marcus Romanowski, the chief of the hospital’s orthopedic surgery department, said. “The boom in surgeries has created a need for a larger, more modern Knee & Hip Center equipped with the very latest in comfort and technology.”

The hospital also recognized Dr. John Repicci, the former chief of orthopedic surgery, at the event, which was held Monday. Repicci has helped the program grow over the past 35 years and was a major donor for the new center.

Repicci developed the unicondylar knee implant, a technique that restores only the damaged area of the knee. 

“The procedure he developed is used around the world,” Millard said.

Kenmore Mercy will use the new wing to care for patients starting Monday. The old center will be converted into private rooms and will be used as a post-surgical unit. 

The hospital also began using its new emergency department as well, which was completed in late July. The $14-million, 24,000-square-foot unit was envisioned more than 10 years ago as part of Catholic Health’s effort to redo all the system’s emergency departments.

Kenmore Mercy has also recently received approval from the state Department of Health for yet another project — the addition of two operating rooms and the renovation of the eight existing ones.

The new rooms will be 600 square feet, bigger than most of the existing eight, and will be added to the rows of operating rooms on the first floor near the center of the hospital.

The project will cost $3.8 million, and construction is set to begin by the end of 2014. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.