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GE to Help Gundersen Lutheran Design a Model Critical-Care Hospital

General Electric will help bring Gundersen Lutheran's new critical-care hospital to life.

Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, Gundersen Lutheran CEO, announced Wednesday that medical center officials are working with GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Co., on the latest in workplace efficiencies, health-care technology and environmentally friendly design in its La Crosse expansion plans.

GE Healthcare will work with physicians and staff to design a critical-care hospital that provides better, more efficient and lower-cost care, Thompson said.

In a seven-year agreement with the medical center, GE Healthcare will provide cutting edge technology, management systems consulting, process improvement, best practices and design planning to make the critical-care hospital a model for the country, he said.

Thompson said GE Healthcare already has completed an energy audit -- looking at everything from water to lighting -- at Gundersen Lutheran and will identify solutions for lower-cost and cleaner-energy alternatives. Some of those energy alternatives could include solar and wind power, he said.

"We will create a hospital that is both environmentally sound and highly efficient," Thompson said.

Thompson predicts millions of dollars will be saved during the next several years because of the partnership.

Gundersen Lutheran will build a new critical-care hospital and an above-ground parking ramp at its hospital complex in La Crosse. Thompson said Wednesday that the critical-care hospital will break ground in 2009, with completion in 2011.

The critical-care hospital will house emergency services, intensive care and surgical care and will be connected to the clinic and a new parking ramp of potentially six levels, Thompson said. A MedLink Air helicopter pad also will likely be added atop the hospital, he said.

Tom Giordano, vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Clients Group for GE Healthcare, said the partnership will simplify workflow, improve diagnostic capabilities and improve patient outcomes.

The emphasis also will be on early diagnosis and treatment, as well as prevention and lifestyle changes, Giordano said.

"We'll also learn and pilot some programs here," Giordano said.

Terry Rindfleisch can be reached at trindfleisch@lacrossetribune.com, or (608) 791-8227.

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