Union Hospital in Dover is announcing plans to build a new Emergency Center. Bruce James, Union Hospital president and CEO, says the plan will position the hospital to meet the community’s need for emergency medical services for the next twenty years.
“Emergency care has been increasingly important to people in Tuscarawas County over the past twenty years,” James said, “and we expect that growth trend will continue well into the future. A new Emergency Center is the highest priority we have to ensure Union Hospital is prepared for that future.”
James says the hospital’s Board of Trustees gave the go-ahead to the project at its meeting on Monday, April 28. The projected cost of the expansion will be $17.7 million dollars. Groundbreaking is planned for late August and construction will take 15 to 18 months to complete. The Emergency Center construction will include a 38,000 square foot, two-story addition to the hospital building. An additional 6,800 square feet of existing space, added in 2001, will be incorporated into the new center.
“Our current Emergency facilities were built in 1991, designed for 30,000 annual patient visits. Since then, the ER has been remodeled, expanded, and remodeled again,” James noted. “We have converted every available square foot for patient care which last year surpassed 45,000 patient visits. Over the next 20 years we project that to reach 60,000 annual patient visits.”
The Union Hospital president credits the hospital staff, physicians, board members, and architects for their research and efforts to design the new Emergency Center. “When completed it will provide high quality medical care and patient safety, offer great flexibility and more efficient operation, and provide the quality of experience our Emergency patients expect and deserve.”
One of the physicians deeply involved with the design of the new Emergency Center is Jeffrey Cameron, MD, an emergency physician at Union Hospital since 1990. He has personally witnessed the increase in Emergency services at the hospital that have surpassed the capacity of the current facilities.
“Our Emergency Department has experienced truly phenomenal growth over the last 25 years,” Cameron said. “We are working in a physical space that is undersized for how busy we have become providing emergent care to our community.”
Dr. Cameron predicts that as more people acquire health insurance, ER patient numbers will increase in the years ahead. “This new, much larger Emergency Center will be a very welcome and necessary aspect of Union Hospital’s ability to provide quality care for our community.”
James says the Emergency Center project financing plan is still being finalized but that community support will be an important part of the plan.
“We will be launching a capital campaign to seek philanthropic support from the community,” James says. “It will be an ambitious goal when it’s announced, but we’re already off to a great start thanks to the generosity of the Union Hospital Auxiliary.”
James is referring to the Auxiliary’s recent pledge of $300,000 to the Emergency Center capital campaign. The first of three annual installments of $100,000 has already been donated to the hospital by the Auxiliary, which works year round to raise money through a variety of fundraising events and projects as well as operation of the Corner Shop gift store in the hospital’s Main Lobby.
Monte Ball, director of fund development at Union Hospital, is pleased with the Auxiliary’s pledge to help jump-start fundraising for the new Emergency Center.
“Community support will be vital to the success of this project and the Auxiliary’s commitment is a wonderful beginning in these early stages of our capital campaign,” Ball said. “As we approach the groundbreaking in August, more details on the campaign and goals will be announced.
James says the final architect’s drawings will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead as the building’s exterior design and features will be finalized. “Before long we will have a better idea of the building’s exterior design and details and perhaps have an architect’s drawing of what we’ll see as we drive up to the entrance of the new Emergency Center.”
The hospital president says the current Emergency Department facilities will continue in full operation until the new construction is completed, including the two entrances for walk-in patients and EMS squads.
“When the day comes to move in to the new Emergency Center, we’ll celebrate not only the great new facilities for patient care, but also the opportunity the former ED space will provide for expansion of other patient services as we look to the future of Union Hospital.”