Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin Invests $48 Million in Complex Care Programs and Technology


AUSTIN, Texas – (Oct. 22, 2012) – Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin has been setting new standards and adopting innovative approaches to medical care since the original hospital was built in Austin more than 100 years ago. To strengthen its unique role as the area’s leader in treating the most complex conditions, Ascension Seton Austin is investing more than $48 million to enhance its cardiovascular, cancer and intensive care programs to a level that is unparalleled in the region.

“Our reputation in treating heart failure, high-risk pregnancy, complicated cancers and chronic conditions is attracting patients from all around the region and Texas,” said Greg Hartman, chief executive officer, Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin. “These major investments will allow us to care for more patients that require sophisticated medicine and technology and continues the tradition of complex life saving services delivered at Ascension Seton and that are not available elsewhere in Central Texas.”

Projects include the establishment of two unique oncology centers: the Cancer Care Collaborative and the Breast Care Center. The collaborative, expected to open year end 2012, will include state-of-the-art video conferencing technology for rsz_lounge_-_2012-10-15 -- 300conducting multidisciplinary cancer conferences that bring together a wide range of care providers to consult on each patient’s treatment plan, as well as dedicated oncology nurse navigators. The Breast Care Center, with an anticipated summer 2013 opening, will offer a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to breast care along with the best medical technology with personal attention and support. Plans include space for physical therapy, rehabilitation, occupational therapy, therapeutic massage, yoga, counseling and more.

“For cancer patients, the journey from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship is a stressful one. Ascension Seton Cancer Care Collaborative and the Breast Care Center hold the potential to improve both the quality of cancer care in Austin and the manner in which we deliver it – by providing personalized and comprehensive medical treatment as well as emotional support for patients and their families,” remarked Rob Fuller, MD, surgical oncologist and co-medical director for the Ascension Seton network oncology program.

Boasting the only heart transplant, mechanical heart implant (VAD or ventricular assisted device) and cardiopulmonary bypass (ECMO*) programs in Central Texas require significant complex care expertise and resources. Investments that will enhance and grow these and other complex care programs include:

  • Expansion of the cardiac unit by an additional 30 beds, new catheterization labs and a new hybrid endovascular suite that will accommodate both invasive procedures and surgical intervention. The investments have consolidated invasive cardiology services in one area enhancing the physician and patient experience.
  • Expansion of the intensive care unit (ICU), which supports patients with complex conditions during and after their procedures, with an additional 12 beds. The new ICU will also be more spacious to better accommodate the large multidisciplinary medical teams. Investment includes a new ECMO device.
  • Expansion of the intermediate care unit (IMC), a area dedicated to patients that warrant close monitoring and support, with an additional 18 beds as well as enhancements such as wireless monitoring. This means that patients will no longer be tethered to the monitoring equipment allowing for improved mobility and safety for patients and faster tracking for clinicians.

Said Hartman, “Central Texans deserve to get the complex care they need in their community where support from family and friends is critical to getting well.”

*Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, provides cardiac and respiratory support oxygen to patients whose heart and lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer serve their function.