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UMC plans children’s hospital with $15M from developer

Diamond’s gift begins drive; $40M more sought by 2010

This illustration shows the existing UMC campus with an architectural rendering of the new Diamond Children's Medical Center north of the main hospital. Warren Avenue runs in front of the children's hospital. Campbell Avenue is in the upper left of the illustration.

This illustration shows the existing UMC campus with an architectural rendering of the new Diamond Children's Medical Center north of the main hospital. Warren Avenue runs in front of the children's hospital. Campbell Avenue is in the upper left of the illustration.

University Medical Center planned to announce Wednesday that it will open Tucson’s first children’s hospital, starting with a $15 million gift from developer Donald Diamond and his wife, Joan.

The children’s hospital will be called Diamond Children’s Medical Center and will occupy the top three floors – about 100,000 square feet – of a six-floor building under construction at UMC. The building also will house UMC’s new trauma center and emergency department.

The children’s hospital will cost $55 million to complete and will open in the spring of 2010, a news release said.

UMC plans to launch a fundraising campaign for the remaining $40 million.

“The time is right,” UMC President and CEO Greg Pivirotto said in the news release. “We have spent years planning for a children’s hospital. And now, with Tucson’s population exceeding 1 million, it’s time to have a hospital completely devoted to the health care needs of children.”

In 2003, Pivirotto announced that UMC would build a children’s hospital. However, funding was not available and there was no timeline for construction.

According to the U.S. Census, in 2006 there were about 215,000 children age 17 and younger in Pima County.

UMC has 87 pediatric beds, which will be expanded to 116 beds in the new hospital. The main hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit, with 16 private rooms, will be housed in the children’s hospital, where it will have 20 private rooms.

The children’s hospital will also have a pediatric emergency room operating around the clock.

Tucson Medical Center, which has southern Arizona’s only pediatric emergency room, has 107 pediatric beds. According to TMC’s Web site, the hospital’s pediatric ER receives 30,000 children as patients annually.

Earlier this month, TMC became the only southern Arizona hospital to be affiliated with the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions.

According to Citizen archives, in 1999, TMC and UMC were looking into the feasibility of building a children’s hospital together. However, in 2001, when TMC announced the opening of its pediatric emergency room, TMC’s then-CEO Frank Alvarez said the plan fell through and that both hospitals decided to expand their own pediatric services.

Spokeswoman Julia Strange said Tuesday that TMC provides 51 percent of children’s medical services in Tucson.

While UMC will provide some of the services already offered at TMC, UMC also will provide cancer treatment and blood and marrow transplant services for children.

“Children are not little adults,” said Vicki Began, vice president of UMC Women’s and Children’s Services. “They have unique needs and require specialized care that is best delivered through a dedicated children’s hospital.”

Diamond Children’s Medical Center also will be a research hospital in collaboration with the University of Arizona’s Steele Children’s Research Center.

“A children’s hospital connected to an academic research facility provides an integrated system of clinical care, cutting-edge research and training of the next generation of pediatricians,” said Dr. Fayez Ghishan, director of the the Steele center.

Don Diamond owns Diamond Ventures, a land development and real estate firm.

He declined to be interviewed, but was quoted in the UMC news release as saying that he and his wife were “proud and honored to be associated with the campaign to create” the hospital.

ABOVE: Construction of the building that will house University Medical Center's new trauma center, emergency department and children's hospital was under way Tuesday.

ABOVE: Construction of the building that will house University Medical Center's new trauma center, emergency department and children's hospital was under way Tuesday.

LEFT: Architectural rendering of the new Diamond Children's Medical Center. The new center will occupy the top three floors of the building.

LEFT: Architectural rendering of the new Diamond Children's Medical Center. The new center will occupy the top three floors of the building.

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DIAMOND CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER COMPARED TO TMC FOR CHILDREN

Diamond Children’s TMC for Children

116 pediatric beds (up from 87 existing beds) 107 pediatric beds

36-bed neonatal intensive care unit 42-bed neonatal intensive care unit

20 private rooms in the pediatric 12 private rooms in the pediatric intensive care unit sive care unit

36 private medical/surgical rooms 38 medical/surgical beds

Pediatric emergency department Pediatric emergency department

Playroom on each of three floors Playroom and playground

Ronald McDonald family room N/A

12 hematology/oncology rooms N/A

6 blood and marrow transplantation rooms N/A

N/A Pediatric gastrointestinal laboratory

N/A Pediatric hospice

N/A Pediatric therapy

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ON THE WEB

University Medical Center tower contruction update

www.umcarizona.org/UMC/body.cfm?id=796

TMC for Children

www.tmcaz.com/?q=TucsonMedicalCenter/Children-Teens

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Online Poll: What other medical facilities does Tucson need?
A children's hospital: 7%
A geriatric hospital: 7%
Another trauma center: 23%
A neurological center: 6%
A burn center: 5%
Two or more of the above: 48%
194 users voted

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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