All posts tagged the-emergency

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ER access shouldn’t be dictated by insurers – Columbia Missourian

Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS), recently notified Missouri plan participants that non-urgent emergency room visits would no longer be covered. This policy is a clear violation of the national prudent layperson standard, which is codified in federal law.

The prudent layperson standard requires insurance coverage be based on a patients symptoms, not their final diagnosis. Anyone seeking emergency care suffering from symptoms that appear to be an emergency should not be denied coverage if the final diagnosis does not turn out to be an emergency.

If you have an Anthem BCBS health insurance plan in Missouri, be aware that nearly 2,000 diagnoses,which Anthem BCBS considers to be non-urgent, would not be covered if you visit the emergency room. Some of these diagnoses are symptoms of medical emergencies. For example:

Anthem BCBS plans to enforce this policy in Missouri this summer.

Missouri participants need to fight for their right to have access to emergency care as protected by the “prudent layperson” standard.

If you are worried that you might have an emergency, you should be able to seek emergency care without wondering if your insurance will cover your ER visit. The vast majority of patients in the emergency department seek care appropriately and often should have come to the ER sooner.

Dr. Jonathan Heidt is president of the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ER access shouldn’t be dictated by insurers – Columbia Missourian


Thomas Memorial to crack down on emergency room admissions … – The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration)

Beginning in July, officials at Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston will be changing the rules for admission to try to discourage patients from going to the emergency room for non-emergencies.

We have a tremendous number of people who seek care in our emergency room on a regular basis, said Dan Lauffer, CEO of Thomas Health System. But he said many of them dont have to go to the emergency room, and many would be better served by going to a health clinic, urgent care center or to their regular doctor.

According to Lauffer, about 35,000 people a year visit Thomas Memorials emergency room. But between 30 and 40 percent of those patients arent really experiencing a medical emergency and would be better served by visiting a health clinic, urgent care or doctor.

Lauffer said patients at the emergency room who dont have real medical emergencies jam up the system and create longer wait times for everyone. So, during July and August the hospital will put into place new patient policies designed to discourage those without medical emergencies from going to the emergency room, and encourage them to seek other forms of care.

To begin with, Lauffer said those coming to the emergency room with non-medical emergencies will be asked to pay a co-pay before they will be seen. Thomas ER co-pays begin at $8 for Medicaid patients and go up from there based on a patients insurance coverage.

Lauffer said emergency room visits are about four times as expensive as other medical services, and wait times tend to be much longer before patients can see a doctor. Co-pays for emergency room visits also tend to be higher than co-pays at clinics, urgent care centers and doctors offices.

Visiting a doctor or a clinic before an emergency occurs is also better for a patients overall health, Lauffer said. Routine follow-up care with a doctor is better for your health than episodic visits to the emergency room, he said.

Regular medical care is also usually cheaper than relying on the emergency room, he said. Were also concerned about their financial health, Lauffer said.

In addition to being asked to pay co-pays up front, Lauffer said patients coming to the emergency room without a real emergency will be given a choice about how they would like to be seen. He said patients will be told they can go to Thomas nearby medical clinic and be seen in the order they arrived, or they can remain in the emergency room but be bumped toward the bottom of the list to be seen in the order of the severity of their injuries.

Thomas staff will be telling patients about the new rules during July and August.

Thomas said many patients are just so used to going to the emergency room for every medical issue they may have that they dont give it a second thought. He said education is the key to breaking the emergency room cycle.

If we dont communicate and educate, the cycle will never change, he said. Once patients are told there may be better, cheaper ways to seek health care than the emergency room, They will begin to understand that they dont have to come into the emergency room for every problem they present with.

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Thomas Memorial to crack down on emergency room admissions … – The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration)


WVMetroNews – Thomas move takes aim at emergency room waits … – West Virginia MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. Thomas Hospital System is trying to improve the cost and efficiency of emergency room visits by more clearly presenting lower-cost alternatives to patients determined not to be facing life-threatening illnesses.

Starting in the next few weeks, Thomas plans to start informing emergency room visitors deemed to not be facing a life-threatening illness that their visits will be subject to co-pays up front.

Emergency room personnel in the Thomas system will advise those patients that they could receive less expensive and potentially timelier care at an associated clinic or with an available family doctor.

Similar measures are alsotaking place elsewhere in attempts to keep costs and wait times lower in emergency rooms.

We are going to start doing screenings of patients when they present to the emergency room, said Dan Lauffer,president andCEO of Thomas Health System which owns Thomas Memorial Hospital and Saint Francis Hospital.

Were going to inform them about their condition whether its an emergent condition or something that could be seen in a care center or doctors office.

Lauffer added, Were doing it as a means of communicating to our patients the culture of delivery. We feel that many patients who representto the emergency room are using it as their primary source of healthcare.It would also improve their knowledge of their financial health as it relates to delivery of healthcare.

The Thomas system calculates that 30 percent of its emergency room visitors are deemed by doctors or nurses to not be in an emergency medical situation. That situation is costly to both patients and the hospital and also results in longer waits.

The biggest change for Thomas Health System will be charging co-payments to patients who choose to remain under emergency room care even after being told their conditions are not life-threatening. The collection of co-payment prior to services would begin in August.

Co-payments begin at $8 for Medicaid payments but can be higher depending on the patients insurance and the care being delivered.

Patients who have true health emergencies would be treated regardless of their ability to pay, hospital system representative said.

Patients would have another choice to make too. They could opt for care at a clinic associated with Thomas (or elsewhere) and be treated in order of arrival or remain under emergency room care but be treated in order of severity. A reference to a family doctor is also an option.

If you say I want to be seen by the emergency room we wont refuse you, but well ask you to pay the co pay and to be seen in the order of severity, Lauffer said.

If the patients visit is after the hours of clinics or associated family doctors, Lauffer said the hospital system would work with the patient for the earliest possible appointment time.

If theres any question about whether or not this may be life-threatening we most certainly will continue to see them in the emergency room, Lauffer said. We want to communicate with these patientsabout how these decisions impact their health and their financial well-being.

Thomas Health has invested more than $1 million into four Care Clinic locations in Kanawha and Putnam counties.

Thomas has tried all along to inform emergency room patients about alternative care and the potential for lower costs, Lauffer said, but this is a concerted effort.

In the past we have not been diligent about this, he said, but we feel it s necessary to educate our community about the decisions about where they see care has an impact not only on their pocketbook but also their health.

WVMetroNews – Thomas move takes aim at emergency room waits … – West Virginia MetroNews


Family of nurse stabbed in emergency room says health is improving – WCVB Boston


The family of a nurse who was stabbed while trying to help a patient is still reeling from the attack.

For 42 years, Harrington Hospital was Elise Wilson’s second home, but no one expected what would happen on June 14.

Wilson was in the emergency room trying to help a patient wielding a knife. Her son, Michael Wilson, said his mother told him her accused attacker was calm at first, but then something changed.

“She said she could see it in his eyes,” Michael Wilson said. “She said the look in his eyes just completely changed.”

She was allegedly stabbed multiple times and suffered life-threatening injuries. Elise Wilson was able to walk down the emergency room, get help, and was taken to UMass Memorial Hospital.

“She woke up for a quick second,” Michael Wilson said, recounting what happened before his mom went into surgery. “She told me she loved me and I told her she’d be OK.”

Her accused attacker, Conor O’Regan, is charged with assault with intent to murder and aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon.

The 65-year-old grandmother is improving and is set to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility as early as the end of the week.

“She’s a hard fighter. She doesn’t give up easily,” Michael Wilson said. “I can’t imagine the outcome being different. I don’t know what I’d do.”

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Family of nurse stabbed in emergency room says health is improving – WCVB Boston


Emergency Room congratulations: Fan in ER spots Dabo Swinney – TigerNet

by David Hood – Senior Writer – 2017-06-02 12:48:00.0

Swinney tells a story at the College Football Hall of Fame Thursday

ATLANTA, GA – Sometimes it’s hard to go unnoticed if you’re the head coach of the hottest college football program in the country. Even if you’re in an emergency room.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was in Atlanta Thursday night at the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the MacArthur Trophy ceremony, and he recounted a story about a visit to an emergency room in Anderson last season when a fan, in obvious distress, recognized Swinney.

“Last year, a player had an issue, and I go to the emergency room on a Tuesday night in Anderson, S.C.,” Swinney said to those in attendance, including TigerNet. “The mom of the player meets me outside the doors, opening, and closing, people in and out, its a madhouse. Im trying to talk to this lady, were 3/4 of the way through the season, Im trying not to make eye contact with anybody.”

Swinney then heard the sounds of someone in obvious distress.

“All of a sudden, I hear this guy behind me moaning and groaning, and Im worried somethings wrong,” he said. “I turn around, and theres this lady bringing this guy into the emergency room. As soon as I turn around, we lock eyes, and he (did a double take), Coach Swinney? Hell of a year, man! Hell of a year!”

The fan, still holding his chest, did what any crazy football fan would do.

“He reached out to high-five me and Im like, Can I help you?! Hes got like a collapsed lung or something,” Swinney said. “Thats the game of football. Ive seen it time and time again.”

Check out TigerNet’s video from the event:

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Emergency Room congratulations: Fan in ER spots Dabo Swinney – TigerNet


Blue Cross Blue Shield To Launch Emergency Room Policy – WABE 90.1 FM

Starting in July, health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield will stop covering emergency room visits it deems unnecessary.

And doctors and analysts have a lot to say about it.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield is enacting this policy because it doesn’t want people to use the emergency room as their primary health care.

“The cost of care’s been going up so much faster than people’s earnings. We have got to find a better way to do some of this stuff, taking some of that unnecessary spending out of the system,” says JeffFusile, president of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Fusile says BCBS wants patients to use urgent care, retail health clinics and their LiveHealth app, which are all cheaper than an ER visit.

“What this policy is directed at is regular, run-of-the mill colds, maybe even influenza. But you don’t need to go to the emergency department to get tested for whether or not you have the flu and to get a Tamiflu prescription,” says JasonHockenberry, who teaches health policy at Emory University.

Hockenberry says, in his research, he’s found many people often use the emergency room inappropriately, for urgent care rather than emergency care.

“This is a real problem. Emergency departments are expensive; they’re there for a different reason. Blue Cross is clearly staking a claim here that we’re going to try to change patient behavior,” Hockenberry says.

Donald Palmisano, president of the Medical Association of Georgia, paints a different picture when it comes to this policy: Imagine a BCBS member has chest pains in the middle of the night. He thinks it might be a heart attack, so he goes to the ER. But it turns out that it was just indigestion. Under BCBS’snew policy, he gets charged for using the emergency room inappropriately. So the next time he has chest pains, he thinks, in case it’s just indigestion, he won’t go to the ER. But this time, it’s a heart attack, and he dies.

“Blue Cross is clearly staking a claim here that we’re going to try to change patient behavior.” – Jason Hockenberry

“That’s where our physicians are concerned. Because they’re like, you know, you’re putting the patient, who doesn’t have the clinical background, to determine whether their condition is of an emergency nature,” Palmisano says.

Palmisano says this policy also might disproportionately affect the elderly, those living in rural areas and adolescents over the age of 14.

“I have four children, and if there’s an injury and it’s hard to determine the pain they’re experiencing, it’s hard to determine whether to go to the emergency room or not. It puts that added stress because you’re dealing with a loved one and you’re putting parents in a very difficult situation,” Palmisano says.

But FusileofBCBS says he knows, in medicine, it’s not always black or white.

“There are lots of gray areas where the diagnosis wasn’t so bad after all, but you have to look at the situation the person was in at the time they were in it,” Fusile says.

Remember that scenario about the man who thinks he’s having a heart attack, but it’s just indigestion? Fusile says that falls into the gray area, too. He says a panel of doctors will assess claims to make sure everyone’s getting fair coverage.

But Palmisano and Hockenberry say they’ll have to wait until the policy is implemented to see how effective it really is.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield To Launch Emergency Room Policy – WABE 90.1 FM


Spike in opioid visits at ECMC pushes ER doctors to front lines of epidemic – Buffalo News

Opioid-related emergency room visits at Erie County Medical Center more than doubled from 2009 to 2016, a startling rise reflective of the addiction epidemic in Western New York and across the country.

The growth mirrors an increase in opioid deaths and, like the fatalities tied to drug abuse, the patients come from every corner of the region urban, suburban and rural.

An examination of nearly 17,000 opioid-related patient visits at one of Buffalo’s busiest hospitals offers a snapshot of the epidemic, and suggests current estimates of hospital visits connected to opioid use in the region are underestimated.

Data from ECMC also reveal the central role emergency departments have come to play in the wake of the extraordinary expansion in the use of narcotic pain relievers in the United States and the growing abuse of heroin.

Among the results:

In recent years, as the opioid epidemic swept the nation, emergency room doctors have been pressured to reduce their prescribing of addictive painkillers for chronic pain.But now, so many patients arrive in emergency rooms with a history of opioid use that emergency rooms are coming to be seen as a potentially ideal place to start addiction treatment.

This represents a fundamental change for a hospital service focused on stabilizing patients with immediate medical concerns and referring them elsewhere for follow-up care.

“Emergency departments can be a real-time source of information on public health problems like this one. They can also be a foot in the door to getting people addicted to drugs the care they need,” said Dr. Ronald Moscati, an emergency room physician and co-leader of a seven-year study of opioid-related visits at the medical center. “It’s a horrible disease and very difficult to treat.”

More visits from outside the city

The review by Moscati and his colleagues attempted a truer accountingof the ways opioid use ispushing people into hospitals. Most hospitals track opioid-related visitsby looking at counts of addicted patients who arrive in emergency rooms seeking detoxification, suffering from withdrawal symptoms or having overdosed. But in many other cases such as patients who injure themselves or feel ill for other reasons opioids turn out to be a contributing factor.

ECMC sought to track allthe reasons opioid users land in the emergency room.

Of the462,983 patient visits to the ECMC emergency departmentfrom June 2009 through June 2016, 3.6 percent, or16,712,had anopioid connection, particularly patients who overdosed on drugs or requested detoxification treatment.

As the years went on,a greater share of theopioid-related visits came from outside the City of Buffalo, jumping from 42 percent in 2009 to a high of 62 percent in 2014.

Whites represented 59 percent of the patients in 2009 but, otherwise, accounted for about 82 percent of opioid-related cases each year afterward. Most of the patients 63 percent on average were male.The median age grew from 28 to 31.

The statistics include patients who may have visited the emergency room multiple times. But the researchers say the trends at ECMC represent those in the larger community because the emergency department receives a majority of the opioid overdose patients in the region, and is the only emergency department to offer specialized services for trauma, psychiatric emergencies and acute substance abuse detoxification.

Opioid-related emergency room visits at Erie County Medical Center more than doubled from 2009 to 2016. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News file photo)

“There is no mystery to what we found,” Moscati said. “We’ve confirmed in an objective way what was an impression of what is happening, and that gives us better insight for targeting education and treatment.”

The chart review, which was organized by the University at Buffalo emergency medicine department, suggests a way to improve regional surveillance of opioid trends, much like the flu and other communicable diseases are tracked. It also argues for greater involvement in addiction care by emergency medicine doctors.

“We see this as a potential way to see the changes in the overall picture over time,” said Heather Lindstrom, research director of UB Emergency Medicine and a co-author of the study.

Starting addiction treatment in the ER

Addicts looking for help confront a health system with a shortage of treatment options, especially access to buprenorphine, a medication also known as Suboxone that is used to reduce cravings. In 2015, fewer than 20 percent of people in the United States who needed addiction treatment received it, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Emergency room doctors focus on evaluating and stabilizing seriously ill and injured patients. But as physicians, advocates and public health officials grapple with the challenges of how to deal with a mounting number of opioid addictions and overdoses, they are looking at the emergency department as a place to start addiction treatment.

“Historically, in the emergency department, we’ve given people with addiction problems a list of phone numbers for treatment at discharge after their immediate concerns have been taken care of. But too many of them leave, use again and overdose again,” said Dr. Joshua Lynch, an emergency room doctor at ECMC and Kaleida Health involved in an initiative in Erie County to establish medication-assisted addiction treatment in emergency rooms.

Opioids include the illegal drug heroin, as well as powerful pain relievers available by prescription, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl. Experts say an explosion in the use of prescription opioids in the past few decades led to increased use of heroin.

“There is no overnight fix. Policies have to change. The stigma of addiction has to change. Doctors need to be trained,” he said. “But we should be treating addiction like any other medical problem.”

The idea of starting treatment in the emergency room got a big boost from a 2015 Yale University study thatfound that individuals with opioid addiction who were treated with the medication buprenorphine in the emergency room were more likely to stick with treatment beyond the emergency room by a large margin 78 percent compared to 37 percent of patients who were seen in the emergency department and given a referral for care elsewhere.

Dr. Joshua Lynch in the emergency room at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

Lynch, who also chairs the hospital group in the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force, said the project here will take that idea a step further with formal links between emergency departments and addiction treatment services, such as Evergreen Health and others in Buffalo. For most opioid-users, the goal is to screen potential candidates, and ensure they leave the hospital with a treatment plan and a definitive link to a place to get treated. A smaller portion who need medication would receive short-term supplies of buprenorphine or other medications, and linkage to addiction services.

None of this will be easy.

Overcoming health system challenges

Doctors must be trained and certified to prescribe buprenorphine, which is also an opioid. Currently, there are only about four emergency doctors in the area with such training, and addiction patients can be difficult to treat in a busy emergency room. To get physician buy-in, referring treatment services must be reliably available at all hours. To truly succeed, more primary care doctors must be certified in buprenorphine prescribing and willing to follow opioid-addicted patients once they have completed addiction treatment.

There are more than 900,000 doctors in the U.S. who can prescribe addictive painkillers, but only 37,000 who can prescribe buprenorphine.

“This is not just an emergency room or addiction doctor issue. The entire medical community needs to step up,” said Lynch, who anticipates starting addiction treatment at ECMC and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital later this year once about a dozen emergency doctors receive training to prescribe buprenorphine.

The county is seeking funding to operate the initiative as a study that will involve UBMD emergency medicine doctors affiliated the University at Buffalo and Columbia University, which has experience in designing research on substance abuse and counseling.

“We have the one study from Yale that looks promising. We want to see if the strategy is effective,” said Dr. Gale R. Burstein, county health commissioner. “But you first need to build capacity for medication-assisted treatment. There is no sense in screening people for possible treatment if there is no treatment.”

Meanwhile, the county continues to maintain a 24-hour addiction hotline, and is making slow but steady progress training primary carephysicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to use buprenorphine. That effort moves forward against a strong headwind. Primary care physicians have been reluctant to take on patients with drug addiction problems, especially with the need to perform regular drug testing and a common perception, real or not,that they may be held criminally liable if a patient dies of an opioid overdose.

Patient advocates like Debra Smith applaud the effort.

“One of the biggest situations families face is that someone goes to the emergency room to be stabilized, but they are released after the medical emergency is addressed. That’s their job. They save someone and then release them. The problem is it does not meet the needs of the addiction,” said Smith, whose 26-year-old son, Nathaniel, died in 2015 from an opioid overdose.

Smith, who also serves on the county’s opiate task force, said she’s impressed that physicians and public health officials here have taken the concern seriously and are doing something about it.

“They don’t have all the answers, but they’re trying to deal with this,” she said.

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Spike in opioid visits at ECMC pushes ER doctors to front lines of epidemic – Buffalo News


I spent years in the ER with my mom. It isn’t a substitute for real health care. – Shareblue Media

In the last threeyears of my mothers life, she and I spent hour after hour in the emergency room of the hospital. Sitting there, watching great doctors and nurses deal with a stream of patients in various states of crisis, one would quickly realize that the conservative mantra that people without health insurance can simply go to emergency rooms is absolute nonsense.

The wrongheaded idea is not a recent conservative talking point. In 2012, while running against President Obama and in favor of repealing Obamacare, Mitt Romney said, we do provide care for people who dont have insurance, and went on to describe a scenario involving a heart attack and the emergency room.

That isnt a health care system. That is a stop someone from dying system, and as soon as youre stabilized, theyll rush in and ask for your proof of insurance, because the system demands medical professionals also work as collection agents.

My mother suffered from End Stage Renal Diseasein laymans terms, that meant her kidneys were failing. When we rushed her to the emergency room such a frequent occurrence that it has all blurred into one long session with fluorescent lights overhead in my memory, but it was over 20 times between 2012 and 2015 it was because she had tipped over into the danger zone, having trouble breathing or remaining conscious.

The emergency room was helpful. But it wasnt health care. Health care was the multiple visits per week, for hours on end, to the dialysis clinic where the work her kidneys could no longer do was outsourced to a large machine. She had to have the blood in her body removed, processed through the machine, and returned to her.

That is simply not something which can be easily handled by a busy emergency room. Thats an entire system of doctors, nurses, nurses aides, nutritionists, social workers, administrators, and more, working in concert to try to give people some semblance of normalcy as their bodies fail them.

And yes, there are also the families who must deal with this their lives disrupted and forever changed because somebody they love is going through hell. If youve heard the anguished screams of the person who brought you into this world as they suffer in pain, you understand something of what hell is.

And on top of the emotional cost ofthe mental anguish of a severe illness, there is the actual cost to deal with, as well.

My mom was covered. But if she hadnt been, she couldnt just go to the emergency room, and to dismiss serious illness in this way is ghoulish and uncaring and unfeeling to everyone involved.

Yet it has become the go-to for Republicans and conservatives, a sign that they havent really thought about this issue, or that they simply dont care.

Health care real coverage with capable doctors and nurses doing their jobs kept my mom alive so I could sit with her a few more precious hours before she left us. Thats what America needs, not dismissive and insulting slogans from privileged politicians, disconnected from reality.

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I spent years in the ER with my mom. It isn’t a substitute for real health care. – Shareblue Media


If you go to the ER for a ‘minor ailment’, you may be on the hook for the bill – NEWS10 ABC

(NEWS10) Anthem is beginning to enforce a policy across a number of states that refuses payment for certain visits to the emergency room.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, beginning this summer, if someone shows up to the emergency room with a minor ailment like a cold or sprain, they may have to pay the entire bill.

Anthem told the newspaper that it is trying to change emergency room usage behavior. The insurer says the policy is already part of members coverage contracts but is rarely enforced.

Missouri is the third state where the second-largest insurer is enforcing the policy. Its also being enforced in Virginia and Kentucky.

Exceptions to this policy includes:

Anthem published a blog post to help members decide if a trip to the emergency room is warranted or if the condition can be treated at an urgent care facility.

Locally, Anthem has not announced if it is enforcing this policy.

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If you go to the ER for a ‘minor ailment’, you may be on the hook for the bill – NEWS10 ABC


Augusta Health eyes $22 million ER expansion | Business … – The Daily Progress

FISHERSVILLE Augusta Health’s emergency room trafficgrew to nearly 62,000 patients last year almost twice the number it was built to serve when the hospital opened more than 20 years ago.

The community hospital’s emergencydepartment was built to serve 35,000 patients, so with the increase in traffic, some patients end up having to be served in hallways or corridors during especially busy times in the ER.

In addition to the increase in patient visits, the past two decades have seen signficant innovations in both medical equipment and technology in the emergency department. That’s been a blessing from a health perspective, but a challenge given the space requirements some of the new devices and procedures require.

But the space crunch will soon be a thing of the past. Augusta Health on Wednesday announced plans for a $22 million expansion and renovation of the emergency department. A groundbreaking adjacent to the existing emergency department was also held Wednesday in conjunction with the announcement.

The plans call for a 33,000-square-foot, two-story addition, along with the renovation of the existing 17,500 square feet. The addition will include 16,288 square feet of “shelled space” for future use. Completion of the project is set for 2019.

“This will give us a better space to take care of patients,” said Dr. Adam Rochman, medical director of the emergency department. Rochman said treating patients in a hallway “is less than ideal.”

The project calls for 48 large, walled, private rooms and dedicated areas for stroke, heart attack and other trauma cases. Family consultation areas for private conversations and meetings with doctors are included in the plans, as is enhanced work space for EMS, police and mental health professionals. A new ambulatory entrance with a canopy will also be built.

Augusta Health President and CEO Mary Mannix said the hospital is not only seeing more patients, but patients of “higher acuity with trauma, strokes and heart attacks.”

Mannix said the addition and renovation will allow the hospital to grow along withe the communities it serves.

“We are really excited to up our game,” she said.

Approximately $20 million of the emergency department upgrade has been approved by the hospital board. And a $2 million capital campaign has been authorized by the Augusta HealthFoundation board of directors.

Leading the $2 million “Moments Matter” campaign is Jim Perkins, the retired president of Blue Ridge Community College.

“This is a very important project forour community,” said Perkins, who saidseveral members of his family havevisited theemergency department over the years, including his 95-year-old mother.

And while Perkins praised “the tremendous care” of the emergency department’s doctors and nurses, he said the present cramped facilityis not indicative of the high standard of care the hospital offers.

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Augusta Health eyes $22 million ER expansion | Business … – The Daily Progress