New Children's Medical Center to Provide Economic Clout as Well

Still under construction, the new Diamond Children's Medical Center will add substantially to the region's infrastructure.
Feb. 2, 2010
Artist's rendition of Diamond Children's Medical Center
Artist's rendition of Diamond Children's Medical Center

Diamond Children's Medical Center, set to open later this year at University Medical Center in partnership with the University of Arizona Steele Children's Research Center, will inject an estimated $5.5 billion into the local economy over the next five years, according to an economic analysis by Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, known as TREO.

TREO, which conducted the economic analysis in conjunction with Applied Economics, estimated the combined economic impact of Diamond Children's Medical Center and of UMC and the Steele Center, a center of excellence at the UA College of Medicine. Among their findings:

  • All totaled, the combined operations of UMC, Diamond Children's and the Steele Center will create a positive economic impact of $5.5 billion to Pima County over the next five years.
  • The three organizations will employ nearly 5,000 full-time employees with an annual payroll of $345 million.
  • Approximately a third of patients to the three entities will be from out of town. UMC alone will support about 5,300 annual visitors and 26,900 annual visitor days. These visitors will generate an economic impact of $24.1 million on Pima County over the next five years.
  • "Diamond Children's will serve as a major pediatric health and wellness destination for the entire Southwest and beyond," said TREO President Joe Snell.

"This new medical center represents a huge, urgently needed leap forward for pediatric health care in the entire region" said former UMC President Greg Pivirotto, who retired last week. "In indispensable partnership with UMC and the Steele Center, Diamond Children's will have a huge impact upon the economy of Tucson and Southern Arizona through increases in jobs, revenues, institutional, business and individual spending, tax revenues and more."

Diamond Children's Medical Center, currently under construction at UMC, will occupy the top three floors of the six-floor Diamond Building. Parts of Diamond Children's Medical Center will be ready for pediatric inpatients beginning this spring. A formal grand opening is planned for September.

Even before its completion, the Diamond Building – which in addition to housing the children's medical center also is home to UMC's expanded Emergency Department and Trauma Center – is providing an economic boost to Pima County of nearly $200 million during its five-year construction. "That translates into nearly 2,000 construction jobs and $83.6 million in payroll, which is great news in this economic recession," Snell said.

The Diamond Building and Diamond Children's Medical Center is named for the family of Tucsonans Don and Joan Diamond, who donated $15 million toward construction costs. The rest is financed by UMC through bonds and donations.

When completed, Diamond Children's Medical Center will boast 100,000 square feet and 116 licensed beds over three floors. It will be the only children's hospital in Arizona associated with an academic medical center. Highlights include:

  • Nursery Intensive Care Unit with 36 beds
  • 36 pediatric medical/surgical private rooms
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with 24 private rooms
  • Hematology/Oncology/BMT Unit with 20 private rooms
  • Pediatric playroom on each floor
  • Ronald McDonald family room
  • Meditation room and healing garden
  • Gift shop
  • Stage where children can see performances, concerts, have graduation ceremonies or a party
  • Library and classroom where children can receive tutoring and catch up on homework.

A complete copy of TREO's 23-page economic report, and further information on Diamond Children's Medical Center, is available online.