WellStar Kennestone Hospital remains the anchor of the 56-acre campus bordered by Tower Road on the north, Cherokee Street on the east, Lacy Street on the south and North Avenue on the west.
Candice Saunders, WellStar executive vice president and president of WellStar Kennestone Hospital, said, “As we looked at the Kennestone campus and had conversations with our community and advisors, we have grown to include a lot of other health services … in order to recognize that and communicate that, it was time to rebrand.”
Saunders said Wellstar’s inpatient and outpatient health services and proximity to the interstate bring patients from the entire northwest region of Georgia, in addition to the five-county metro area.
“Not only are we the community’s hospital, at the same time, we have grown and have now become a regional center,” she said. “The need for tertiary services is there, and we are very convenient.”
She said Wellstar has placed a greater emphasis on working in partnership with the regional hospitals, the EMC providers and the doctors to better meet specialized health care needs.
“It makes sense to bring those services here and work collaboratively on how we get those patients here,” Saunders said.
The rebranding was done in concert with two additional system-wide events — the opening of the $48 million, 108-bed Blue Tower West in January and the logistical reorganization to “destination unit” patient care throughout the hospital, which groups patients by illness and health care needs.
Saunders said by having all pulmonary, cardiac, cancer and other patients grouped into 20-plus units, it allows the patient to have specialized team members and care.
“We know if you have a team focus on the needs of that population, we will strengthen those outcomes,” she said.
Ana-Elis Perry, the hospital’s operations manager, said each floor is now staffed by doctors and nurses who work in a particular field.
“Everyone is kind of right here in the area where they can talk about it in one setting,” she said.
Dr. Michael Andrews, Kennestone’s chief cancer officer, said with the reorganization, the new patient rooms in the new tower allow all inpatient and outpatient cancer services to be located close together.
“We are trying to get the right patients in the right places with the right nurses who are specialized in what the patient has,” he said.
In addition to the hospital, the campus includes Kennestone Outpatient Pavilion, Kennestone Physicians Center, WellStar Kennestone Cancer Center, Atherton Place Senior Living Community WellStar Health Place, WellStar Outpatient Rehabilitation Center and WellStar Outpatient Imaging Center.
Wellstar does not provide organ transplant, inpatient pediatrics, burn unit or behavioral health services on the Marietta campus, and Saunders says plans do not call for the addition of those services in the near future.
The opening of the new tower did not add patient rooms, but created more private rooms in the older towers. Of the hospital’s 633 rooms, only 51 remain semi-private.
Saunders says Wellstar’s leadership team’s master planning process looks five to 10 years in the future.
“More and more, we are looking at how we manage the continuum of care,” she said. “We will continue to evaluate what we do.”