Fla. Hospital Opens Expanded Emergency Department
Nov. 14—PANAMA CITY—Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center opened the doors Monday on a brand new emergency room, with over 20 private rooms and brand new equipment.
The new ER is the first phase of a $13.3 million, three-phase project to completely renovate the hospital's emergency department. Phase two, which will start later this week, will involve renovating existing space into a new waiting room, and the final phase will be a rebuild of the pediatric ER.
When all's said and done, the number of beds in the emergency department will increase from 31 to 42 and, according to hospital Chief Operating Officer Holly Dean, that increased capacity will come with decreased wait times. She expects all three phases to be complete by the third quarter of 2018.
On Monday morning, the old ER entrance at the hospital for ambulances had shut down and local EMS was told to use the new entrance. The old ER itself also had been closed, with patients already filling the new section. According to Dean, all the equipment in the new ER, including stretchers, computers and televisions, are all brand new as well. New signage will be put up this week directing patients to the appropriate areas in the hospital, and all adult patients have been transferred to the new area.
The changes to the ER department are running concurrently with renovations happening in three other units in the hospital, including the creation of a 22-bed postpartum unit.
"We always continue to grow and look at ways to add more space," Dean said.
With the ER department expansion comes an expansion in hiring, and Dean said they have been filling new nursing and support positions to keep the ER running smooth. She said they also have been keeping the construction to local companies, further contributing to the community.