MISSOULA - Community Medical Center (CMC) staff are busy this week moving one of the most critical areas in the hospital into a new space, with plans for an upgraded Emergency Department hitting the halfway point.
With more than a year of construction complete, the "ER" is being moved into the first phase of CMC's $13.4-million Emergency Department.
It's quite the upgrade, with the eventual addition of five new rooms, with all 18 rooms being private. Other features include a bariatric chamber and space dedicated to serving specific patients, such as children, the elderly and those with mobility challenges, and people facing a mental health crisis or substance abuse. All of this will be in new, wider hallways with improved lighting and atmosphere.
"Two big trauma bays when we finalize everything," explains Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bonnie Stephens. "Several rooms that are very pediatric friendly. And like you mentioned, the vertical waiting area, where people don't have to sit in their room the whole time. They can come out to that area and wait on their medications or wait on their lab results and then get out of here as quick as possible."
Chief Operating Officer Jim Gillhouse says the two-phase expansion comes in direct response to Western Montana's changing demographics.
"The population of Missoula is growing, especially those residents 65 years and older. So we know the utilization of emergency departments, the need for ER is going to only grow. This will allow us to really be in a much better place. To be able to serve, better serve, the residents of Missoula."
People should begin using the new ER entrance starting Tuesday. Work is already starting on Phase 2 of the project.