New Emergency Department
University Health Inc. Board Approves $30 Million to Renovate
and Expand its Emergency Department
AUGUSTA, GA, February 25, 2016 - The University Health Inc. Board approved at its regular meeting today a three-year, $30 million renovation and expansion project to what is considered to be its second front door, with 73 percent of its inpatients coming from the Emergency Department.
The project, which requires state Certificate of Need approval, expands the department from its current 36,000 square feet to 58,000 square feet, and will increase the number of treatment rooms from 53 to 78. The new design features six self-contained pods of 12 beds each, and an additional specially designed pod of six beds dedicated to psychiatric patients.
The last major Emergency Department renovation was completed in 2003, according to Mary Anne Nolan, Emergency Services Director. "It was designed to accommodate a little more than 50,000 patients a year, and last year we saw 80,000. We are seeing the result of aging baby boomers, and also, we are seeing much sicker patients than in the past with multiple chronic conditions. This new design will allow us to care for our patients and families much more efficiently and comfortably."
Mrs. Nolan said it is important that the region's busiest Emergency Department not lose any beds during the renovation process. To accomplish that, a pod will be built first in a new area. When the new pod is opened, the equivalent number of beds will be closed for redesign. The process will be repeated until the project is complete - approximately three years from the start of construction.
Entry into the Emergency Department will also improve by separating entrances for walk-in patients and those who come in ambulances. The helicopter pad will be moved from the parking area to the roof, and an elevated parking area will increase spaces from 36 to 57.
"It will almost be like having several small Emergency Departments instead of one large one," Mrs. Nolan explained. "Our staff and physicians give great care every day, but the possibilities will be endless with an improved environment. We are all very excited, and I'm sure our patients will be too."