The last thing somebody wants to do when they go to the emergency room is sit and wait. Understanding the need to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible prompted administrators at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne to set in motion a $22 million expansion of the hospital's emergency department and trauma center.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning opened Phase 2 of the hospital's renovations, unveiling an eight-room Expedited Treatment Area where walk-in patients will be directed to when they first enter the building.
"In here, we will determine which specialty the patient needs to see and have them in front of a physician within 30 minutes," said Lisa Goldsmith, manager of emergency services for the hospital. "This is a new split-flow strategy that we implemented last April."
The expanded space, with a new entrance lobby, a larger driveway and private areas for patients waiting for test results, will open to the public at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 15.
"Access to patient care has been improved, allowing us to effectively and efficiently treat the growing number of emergency patients," said Dr. Gary Zimmer, medical director of emergency services. In prepared remarks to the crowd gathered to watch the ribbon-cutting, Dr. Zimmer said the new facilities will enable the hospital to increase its patient volume by at least 100,000 a year.
"We're the only state-certified trauma center in the county," said Goldsmith. "We get patients airlifted from as far away as Quakertown, and rarely do we need to transport them to another hospital. They stay here for treatment."
Already the largest employer in Bucks County with more than 3,000 employees, Goldsmith said they will need to hire more staff to manage the 30 extra beds that will be added to the department by the time the renovations are complete.
Phase 1 of the $22 million dollar project was completed last fall and enhanced the emergency department and the trauma center by adding new private rooms equipped with televisions and family seating, plus a computer to access records and a new CAT scanner.
The final phase is expected to be finished in the summer will add the finishing touches to the trauma center. In the final stage of renovations, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pediatric Care Emergency Care Center will expand from 8 to 11 beds and add separate waiting rooms for infectious and non-infectious patients.