Beginning at 7 a.m. today, the patients and staff at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark had more space than usual to begin the healing process.The hospital officially opened its new emergency department this morning, adding 18,000 square feet to the existing department.
The development of the emergency department was a multistep reshuffling of the hospital’s departments, beginning with moving physician and administrative offices, then the hospital’s breast center, before a new lobby and admissions area was created.
President and CEO David Ricci said the medical center was able to save money on the project by containing the renovation in the current space. The total cost, including some future equipment purchases, came to roughly $29 million.
The space is designed to move patients efficiently through the emergency department, whether they are to be discharged or admitted to the other areas of the hospital. The new space includes two resuscitation bays directly off of the ambulance entrance, several areas for triage and separated areas for “fast track” patients and patients that need isolation.
Ricci said the expansion will increase capacity from 35,000 visits a year to 60,000, which will help the hospital serve more people in the community.
The development of the new emergency department was part of the proceeds of the sale of St. Michael’s to Catholic Health East. Over the course of five years, the hospital received $130 million for capital improvements. The ED expansion was one of the final steps in that strategic plan.