Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) hosted a press conference on Tuesday, November 27th at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville. A crowd of nearly 200 gathered to see 10 different proj­ects in the works at the hospital.

PMC Board Members and Senior Vice Presidents flanked the stage with drawings of new build­ings, remodels and floor plans as CEO Donovan Blackburn led the program announcing the $52 million commitments made for health care in the region. Growth, services, convenience and job opportunities were the prevailing message of the day.

Although the program highlighted the new heart and vascular institute, lab expansions, clinics in Whitesburg, Williamson and Martin, new jobs, the hospital network headquarters and a new coffee shop, the grand finale was the biggest surprise announcement.

PMC Board of Directors Member and Pediatri­cian, Jyothi Mettu, MD, and PMC Board Member Debbie Blackburn unveiled an artist’s rendition and floor plans for PMC’s new Children’s Hospi­tal. Dr. Mettu explained the two-phase project that will change health care for children in the region.

Dr. Mettu said, “We serve a large number of chil­dren in our region. We have a state-of-the-art pediatric clinic and four highly-qualified pediatri­cians providing pediatric care, along with com­munity based independent pediatricians, all of whom admit patients to our hospital.”

For now, there is one component missing for chil­dren’s health care and that is an inpatient hospi­tal.

Dr. Mettu stated that quite a large number of children must be sent away to children’s hospi­tals in Lexington or Cincinnati for hospital care.

When faced with accidents or when illness strikes, driving hours away for health care is not only expensive but inconvenient as it places a number of burdens on family and friends who support the child.

The goal of the hospital is to provide expanded services for area children through this new PMC Children’s Hospital.

“We designated the area currently occupied by hospital administration, to develop this new chil­dren’s service,” said Dr. Mettu. “It will have a bright, inviting and playful décor that children will surely enjoy.”

The children’s hospital will give parents, family and friends the opportunity to remain with their children throughout their hospital stay, but still remain close to home.

This project is planned to be completed in two phases with the first phase consisting of the re­location and expansion of the clinic.

“By bringing the clinic to the second floor, we have better access for the parents,” said Dr. Mettu.

There will be designated parking on the second floor of the parking garage and the children’s hospital will be located on the second floor of the May Tower beside the new coffee shop and the Corner Market.”

When coming to PMC for appointments, parents will have the convenience of avoiding long hall ways and exposure to other patients.

“We will have 17 state-of-the-art patient exam rooms and two waiting areas,” said Dr. Mettu. “Phase one is expected to be completed by mid- 2019.”

Phase two is the expansion and relocation of in­patient care and is planned to be completed in 2020. The total estimated cost of this major proj­ect is $7 million dollars.

For additional information about services of­fered at PMC, call 606-430-3500.