Ground broken for Kadlec medical office in Richland

Dr. Matt Fewel looks forward to the day when patients can be more easily referred to the Kadlec Neuroscience Center rather than a specific physician.

That day is about a year away, when Fewel and other specialists will move into the new $19.2 million three-story building on Goethals Drive in Richland. It will gather most of Kadlec Health System's outpatient specialty physician care into the same building.

"We are really looking forward to getting everybody under one roof," Fewel told the 60 people who gathered Monday to see the first ceremonial shovels of dirt turned for the project.

The care those patients receive will improve because the 60,000-square-foot building will lead to more collaboration and coordination, said Fewel, a neurosurgeon and board chairman of the Kadlec Neuroscience Center.

Most of the first floor of the 1100 Goethals Medical Office will be occupied by the Kadlec Neuroscience Center, which includes 10 physicians, three midlevel providers and about 20 to 30 staff, Fewel said. The team includes specialists in neurosurgery, neurology, pain management and physiatry, also called physical medicine and rehabilitation.

When Kadlec Neuroscience Center began in 2008, a goal was to unite fragmented care, Fewel said. The new building also will be home to Kadlec Clinic specialists in ear, nose and throat, endocrinology, gastroenterology, infectious diseases as well as cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery and general surgery.

Dr. Frank Fleming, chairman of the Kadlec Clinic board, said most of the clinic's 65 specialty providers will move to the new building. Patients will be able to see their providersfor outpatient services and some minorprocedures in the new building, he said, but surgeries will still be performed at the hospital.

Kadlec Clinic also plans to recruit specialists in cardiology, pulmonology and urology.

Fleming, a plastic surgeon, said specialists in cardiology and pulmonology are needed so Kadlec Clinic can offer a complete line of cardiac service. And there aren't enough urologists in the Tri-Cities, he said.

Kadlec Health System provides care to patients in southeast Washington and northeast Oregon, and Richland Mayor John Fox said Kadlec's new building will help make for a more attractive and economically viable central business district.

"Kadlec is a major growing employer in Richland," he said.

Chervenell Construction of Kennewick already has moved equipment on the grass field in preparation for construction. The building is being designed by TGBA of Edmonds.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com