MU Health Care has opened its new Children’s Hospital and Birthing Center in Columbia.

Moving is expected to wrap up this month for the new $230 million hospital. The new home includes 120 beds – with all private patient rooms so that families can be comfortable for as long as they need to be there.

Laura Hesemann, chair of pediatrics and chief medical officer of the hospital, said the new location is about five years in the making.

“We were thinking about the future of healthcare for children,” said Hesemann. “We were thinking about efficiencies in health care and what it would look like to consolidate the Children’s Hospital back on the main campus with the rest of the inpatient services of MU Health Care. We were thinking about what it would take to make Children’s Hospital sustainable.”

Hesemann said she’s most proud of the thoughtful design to meet the special healthcare needs of children.

“They really need an environment that is designed for them,” she said. “When kids are sick and in the hospital, they need care delivered in a little bit different way. It needs to be kid-friendly so that they’re comfortable. And it needs to also have the space and the facilities to include family and loved ones in their health care journey.”

According to Hesemann, the new hospital has more space and natural light with a bright and happy feel.

She is also proud that the hospital was primarily built by Missouri workers – built for Missouri by Missourians.

MU treated nearly 60,000 children in 2023. Hesemann wants families to feel included when they walk through the hospital doors.

“Those folks who are raising these kids, they know their child best. We desperately need their input when it comes to making the right decisions for them at the right time. And kids get better, faster. Things go better when the family is involved. We want them to feel like they are a part of the process from even before they’re admitted until well after they go home,” said Hesemann.

The Ronald McDonald House has a large family room within the pediatric unit for families to lounge, have refreshments, do laundry, and take a nap.

The hospital was largely paid for by MU Health Care, with some state aid and financial backing from the University of Missouri System.

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