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Arizona Burn Center prepares for major expansion

The Arizona Burn Center Valleywise Health is already one of the largest civilian burn units in the nation. But soon it will nearly triple in size when it moves into the new Valleywise Health Medical Center. 

"We’re going to be able to see people more efficiently, more of them, in better circumstances," said Dr. Kevin Foster, director of the burn center. 

The new Diane and Bruce Halle Arizona Burn Center will be part of Valleywise Health's new 673,000-square-foot hospital which is  set to replace the more than 50-year-old legacy hospital currently operating at 24th and Roosevelt streets in Phoenix.

The new burn center facilities will include a burn emergency department, an expanded ICU and a pediatric wing. 

Foster said the the new center will also have much more space for services like physical therapy and job retraining. Patients with severe burns are often hospitalized for months at a time, and even after they leave the hospital, they continue to need care. But Foster said in the current facilities, which are more than 50 years old, outpatient care is run out of three small rooms and a few converted closets.

“We’re going to really start concentrating on taking care of people after they leave the hospital and what do they need? And how can we make that better for them? And this huge outpatient therapy center is set up for that," Foster said. 

The new facilities will open to patients in April. 

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.