The new replacement hospital for SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Jefferson City allowed SSM to implement significant changes to its existing care model and operational processes. Located about five miles from the existing hospital in downtown Jefferson City, the new campus sits on a 110-acre greenfield site and contains a 366,000-square foot hospital; a 66,000-square-foot medical office building; and extensive landscaping with a healing garden, walking trail, courtyards, and water feature. A core team of representatives from the owner (SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital), program manager (Northstar, St. Louis); architect (Lawrence Group, St. Louis; and HGA, Milwaukee) and contractor (Alberici, St. Louis) led the visioning process to transform the physical environment.

One of the major goals for the project was to build and sustain a culture of innovation, and a kick-off meeting with hospital representatives, physicians, community leaders, and other key stakeholders set the tone. Teams studied every aspect of the patient experience from check-in to discharge to find ways to improve operational processes. Throughout the project, new ideas and processes were tested in mock-ups and implemented in the existing hospital. For example, prototypes were developed to improve the way supplies were accessed and stocked in supply servers, and the traditional headwall system in the emergency department was reconfigured to allow physicians the ability to move behind the head of the patient. While developing innovative ideas to achieve exceptional quality and safety, the core team also worked collaboratively to provide stewardship of the hospital’s resources and assets.

The resulting new hospital features 172 private patient rooms which are acuity adaptable and same-handed with decentralized nursing alcoves. The building design allows abundant natural light throughout the public spaces and patient rooms. Large family areas at the corners of the patient floors also take advantage of the natural light and breathtaking views.

In its first six months of operation, the new hospital has demonstrated dramatic improvements in patient scores, including moving from 46th to the 82nd percentile in its HCAHPS hospital rating. Press Ganey also reported a 94th percentile of HCAHPS pleasantness of room décor and an 87th percentile of HCAHPS noise level in and around room, a significant increase from the 36th percentile in both categories prior to the move.


Article contributors:

  • Mike Bock, director of facilities, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Kevin Studer, principal, Northstar Management
  • Michael Schnaare, principal, Lawrence Group
  • Beth Trueblood, principal, Lawrence Group
  • Tim Gunn, vice president of construction, Alberici Healthcare