Starting at 5:30 a.m. Thursday, people seeking emergency care at Valley Medical Center will go to the hospital’s new state-of-the-art emergency room.
But no patients will actually make the move from the existing emergency room to the new one. Patients already in the emergency room when the switch is made will remain there until their emergency care is completed.
The new emergency room – known more formally as the Emergency Department – is the epicenter of Valley Medical Center’s new Emergency Services Tower, the Margarita Prentice Trauma Center.
The seven-story, $115 million South Tower was dedicated in January.
To help prepare for opening day, about two dozen actors were hired by the building's designers to portray sick or injured patients and concerned family members to pay out common and uncommon scenarios faced by emergency room staff.
The entrance to the new emergency room is off South 43rd Street. Westbound traffic will turn into the new marked entrance at the South Tower. Eastbound traffic will take an immediate right from 43rd Street after going over State Route 167 to an access road that road goes under 43rd Street and to the tower and its parking garage.
The access to the existing emergency room will not provide access to the new emergency room.
There will be valet parking and short term parking spaces at the southeast corner of the waiting room on the surface level of the new emergency room. The parking garage is below, with elevators to the upper floors, including the emergency room.
The hospital operates one of the busiest Emergency Departments on the West Coast, serving more than 70,000 patients every year. The current emergency room was designed to handle up to 50,000 patients a year.
The hospital will have the capacity to serve about 100,000 patients a year in the new ER.
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