06/09/10 — Hospital gets OK to work on ER

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Hospital gets OK to work on ER

By Laura Collins
Published in News on June 9, 2010 1:46 PM

Wayne Memorial Hospital has received the go-ahead from the state to expand its emergency department.

Hospital president William Paugh said Tuesday that the state Division of Health Service Regulation confirmed the hospital's certificate of need, giving it the green light to proceed.

Last year, the hospital filed an application to expand the department and to install another CT scanner and new X-ray equipment.

The proposed plan is a $21.1 million project that will add more than 31,000 square feet to the facility and renovate its existing 4,000 square feet. It would almost double the number of treatment rooms from 22 to 42.

Thomas Bradshaw, vice president of operations for the hospital, said the project will be split into two phases. The first phase, expanding the emergency department, is the "whole focus of the project" and will cost about $18 million. The second phase, renovating the existing emergency department, will take place "years down the road after the new emergency department is built," Bradshaw said.

The emergency department at the hospital sees more than 53,000 cases a year, but the facility is built to handle only about 35,000. The facility will remain one story, and the current location will likely be used for infusion therapy and minor treatments as well as a holding area.

The hospital will be applying for a bond issue to fund this project either through a bank or the State Medical Care Commission. Bradshaw said funding for the project will be a complex process. The hospital can apply for a non-profit bond in August, but Bradshaw said it's likely they'll miss that application deadline because the state will not be done reviewing the construction documents by August. It's likely the hospital will have to wait until the next submission date in November before applying for the bonds.

The hospital is also looking at alternative financing privately though a bank. The hospital board finance committee will meet this month to decide what makes the most sense financially.

If approved for bonds in November, the hospital will then look for a general contractor and could likely start construction by January or February.

"It's great to move forward," Bradshaw said. "There's truly a need to build an emergency department to handle the number of patients here. The next challenge is the financing of the project."