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Real Estate Bisnow
July 17, 2008



Last month’s Washington Hospital Center 50th anniversary was cause for celebration but apparently not laurel resting for CEO Jim Caldas. The District’s largest medical center is about to undergo a $250 million upgrade, so we tracked down Jim for details. Maybe it’s premature, but we needed some good material to discuss around the buffet table at the 75th anniversary.


The centerpiece changes will be a new ambulatory care center and patient tower with 120-160 beds. The former is WHC’s first all-in-one, modern outpatient facility after years of growth left patients sprinkled throughout the entire campus. Jim says the facility master plan also includes more parking. Fundraising won’t begin until after detailed designs are presented to parent company MedStar in late 2009, but Jim already has his sights set on completion in early 2012.


Jim proved top-notch patient experience in the new buildings is not an empty promise by introducing us to project manager, Sandy Marshall. By putting WHC’s former CNO at the helm, he says the patient perspective is evident. This patient-as-customer approach will mean more private rooms and better accommodations for patients’ families, a mere afterthought at hospitals years ago. Also, the hospital will decommission beds from the original 1950s building. The new buildings will also allow more minimally invasive surgery from WHC’s cardiovascular team that is just the third in the nation to offer endovascular heart valve replacement.


Last weekend, Jim returned to camp. That’s Nike tennis camp, in Amherst, MA. With 15 past and present colleagues, he pretended to be Rafael Nadal by day and slept in dorms by night. The players are from WHC as well as Christiana Care in Delaware, where Jim worked for 16 years. Before that, it was stints at NJ and NY Medical Center. Despite this slow southerly drift of his career (not the same as saying his career is going south), Jim isn’t retiring to Florida anytime soon. He did manage some easterly travel recently, journeying to Italy with his oldest son (age 30) and his youngest (10).



Children’s Hospital held a first-of-its-kind fundraiser at Nationals Park on Sunday. Never before could fans at a stadium donate via cell phone, but at this game vs. Houston, anybody who texted “Nats” to 90999 would automatically add a $5 gift to their cell phone bill. Fran Cogen, Director of the Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes Program, was more than willing to demonstrate using our phone. She told us the money will be used to build one of the nation’s first pediatric diabetes complexes. The Nats already chipped in $2 million to jumpstart fundraising and Fran says they’re just $2 million short of their $5 million goal. Right after the game, she bolted up to Cornell, her alma mater, for a one week English course on British literature, where she’ll be better able to fundraise without pride or prejudice. (When she returns, she’ll understand that joke.)

Curtis Raye got into medical writing for Tdap, DTap and other hip abbreviations. He’ll be thrown out of it when he invents a Diptheria-Osteoporosis-Gout-Cholera immunization just to call it Dog Choler. In the meantime, send story ideas and acronyms to Curtis@bisnow.com.

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