RENTON, WA - Today at 5:00 a.m. a blessing was given by Chaplain Donna and a bell rang out in Valley Medical Center’s new Emergency Services Department (ED) signaling its official opening. 195 patients came through the ED on day 1 – on the high end of busy related to the average ED census.
VMC’s old ED, built to handle a capacity of 55,000 patients per year, was servicing 75,000 patients annually. The new 45,000 square foot department is built to handle 100,000 patients per year with room for expansion. It features 55 private rooms that are interchangeable for emergent, urgent and trauma care, and the new “Margarita Prentice (Level III) Trauma Center.” The facility employs the concept of “technology at the bedside.” From bedside registration to radiology exams, care is brought to the patient. State-of-the-art cardiac monitoring equipment is located in every room, and diagnostic imaging, including ultrasound and x-ray, are performed in room. The ED is also home to our new Philips Brilliance iCT – the first 256-slice CT scanner in Washington State.
“It takes a special person to work in Emergency Medicine,” says Scott Alleman, Vice President, Patient Care Services at Valley Medical Center. “The pace and situations can be quite difficult even in the best of circumstances. So it’s quite gratifying to see our staff moving through the new space with a more-than-adequate amount of room, and top-notch technology at the ready, to allow them to do what they do best: care for patients.”
The opening of the South Tower – the new building that houses the ED – brings the total square footage of the Valley Medical Center (VMC) campus to 1.6 million and completes critical upgrades to an ED that is expected to see 100,000 patients annually in the near future.
Other capabilities and services provided in the South Tower includes a 30-bed critical care unit, disaster command center, state-of-the-art decontamination equipment, two floors of underground parking, and room for expansion to accommodate regional growth for decades to come. VMC’s ED is one of the busiest on the West Coast and has been studied by Yale University, among others, for its success in door-to-balloon cardiac treatment.
Back in 2005, voters approved a $200 million capital plan to expand services. VMC began a three-phase project that started with the opening of a new Birth Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in 2006. VMC’s Birth Center is currently second to Swedish in the number of babies born annually (over 4000).
In the spring of 2007 the hospital opened a new hospital lobby, and state-of-the-art Surgery Center with 40 percent larger suites to accommodate the robotics used in today’s minimally invasive procedures.
The South Tower will also serve South King County as its primary Disaster Recovery facility with the capability of handling flooding and hazardous waste spills to earthquakes and bioterrorism.
When completed in late May 2010 the Emergency Services South Tower will house the Critical Care Unit, Ambulatory Treatment Unit, and VMC’s Joint & Spine Center; nearly 80 percent of VMC’s campus will be new or renovated space that will support the community’s growing health needs well into the future.
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