(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) included $150,000 in an important Senate spending bill to expand the new pediatric center at Kadlec Medical Center (KMC) in Richland, Washington. The funding was included in the Labor, Health, Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill. That bill was approved today by the full Appropriations Committee and will move on to be considered by the full Senate. Senator Murray is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"This funding is another step forward in building a state-of-the-art pediatric center to serve the Tri-Cities community," said Senator Murray. "The Volpentest Pediatric Institute will address the growing health care needs of a growing region. It will also provide an economic stimulus in the form of close to 400 new family wage jobs."

"This is a wonderful way to recognize Sam Volpentest for all his economic development efforts," said Rand Wortman, CEO, Kadlec Health System. "It is particularly fitting because it will contribute to economic development by enhancing growth of medical care in the Tri-Cities.  The Volpentest Pediatric Institute will provide a higher level of care and help keep families close to home during time of greatest need." 

The funding Senator Murray has included in this bill will go to construction and equipment to support the expansion of the new pediatric center. Kadlec Medical Center is in the process of completing an expansion project. KMC plans call for the development of a Pediatric Program consisting of 20 pediatric beds in private rooms and a 20 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  The current NICU is one large open room, whereas the new NICU will have all private rooms. Private rooms decrease the potential for spreading infection among patients and will allow more privacy for parents and their babies.  KMC has the only NICU in Southeastern Washington.

This project will have a significant economic impact on the Tri-Cities community.  With recent growth at Kadlec Medical Center, the number of employees has risen from 719 in 1999 to over 1450 currently.  As a result of added beds in the new building and new and improved services, it is projected there will be an additional 400 employees by 2010.