The new addition to Decatur Morgan Hospital is just days away from opening its doors to the public.
On Friday, hospital staff and community leaders gathered for a ribbon cutting of the new emergency room expansion. The $6 million expansion more than doubles the capacity that the ER is able to undertake, from 14 to 35 beds.
"The community said to us we really needed a more efficient emergency department. We need one that we can get patients in and out of faster," said Hospital President Nat Richardson.
The project took about two-and-a-half years to bring to fruition. Richardson told WAAY 31 that the increased efficiency comes partly through segmenting the department by sevarity of condition.
"When you come in and have a minor illness, you can go into the Fast Track area and be in and out of the emergency department a lot faster versus being incorporated in some of the more accute areas where we have patients all mixed in," said Richardson.
He added that by creating these designated treatment spaces, they predict total time for patients needing comparatively minor care will be reduced by about 20 percent. Richardson said not only will that save patients and hospital staff time, but it will also reduce costs.
"When we can have more beds to treat more patients, we become more efficient and the cost, of course, goes down," said Richardson.
Since the new emergency department passed its state inspection on Thursday, it will be open for public use starting Wednesday morning at 12:01 a.m.