TROY — Gold shovels broke ground at Upper Valley Medical Center, marking the beginning of the project to expand and renovate the hospital’s Emergency Department.
According to UVMC President and CEO Becky Rice, the goals of the project are to increase ED space and the size of the treatment rooms to accommodate modern needs of patients and caregivers.
The project, expected to take up to 18 months, will include 26,300 square feet of new construction and 16,800 square feet of renovation for a total of 43,100 square feet. The new construction will occur first, followed by a move into the new space and renovations to the existing ED. The emergency department will remain open during the entire project.
“It’s been a long time coming and any of you who have been a patient or a visitor with a patient in our emergency department over the last few years know that with technology, with increase computerization, our rooms just didn’t shrink physically but they sure felt like it because of the new equipment,” she said. “This was not only an opportunity for us to expand the footprint, but also to make the rooms more patient and visitor-friendly, more private, and to add a whole behavioral health section as well.”
Points of interest for the project include relocating the ambulance entrance and helipad to the east of the building, adding a CAT scan and imaging unit, constructing a second MRI unit, and adding a new corridor for family members and visitors to access the cafeteria and vending machines without needing to ask staff to open the door.
Premier Health Chief Operating Officer Mary Boosalis shared that Premier Health is one of the busiest health care systems in the region and possibly in the country, mainly because of the focus patients and health care providers have on prevention.
Boosalis shared a story where a few years prior, she and Rice were walking across the UVMC campus, which Boosalis described as being beautiful.
“As beautiful and timeless as I think this campus is in so many ways, when we got to the emergency room, it was obvious it has outgrown its space,” she said. “This project clearly is necessary, is important, and I think it speaks to our commitment to Miami County, and it shows Miami County’s commitment to us.”
Retired physician and UVMC Board Chairman Dr. Reece Nickol conducted the first surgical procedure at the hospital and oversaw the merging of Piqua, Dettmer and Stouder hospitals becoming UVMC. He said the original ED building opened in 1998 and was designed for expansion.
“One of the things we planned on was that medicine progresses and changes daily and we have to change with them,” he said. “Since 1998, we’ve added rooms to the southwest end, we’ve enhanced our cancer care center, and we’ve built a nice office building two years ago. The last time we expanded our emergency room was 11 years ago, which in emergency room years was a long time ago.”
UVMC Medical Director for Emergency Services Dr. David Cohen remarked how the renovations to the Emergency Department were going to improve design functionality, enhance patient care, and offer more privacy for the patients.
“The ED treatment rooms will be universal, which means they will be the same — equipment will be in the same location, the same handiness will go with that,” he said. “This increases safety and efficiency of care having the universal rooms and additional rooms allows us to have a higher and faster turn around in care.”
He also said health care was a teamwork process, which the new emergency department would help foster.
“Every member has a vital role in the best care in order to improve the health in the individuals that we serve,” he said. “Different team members bring different expertise, but we all work towards a common goal of a healthy community.”
After the four spoke, county and city officials, fire departments from Troy and Piqua, EMS personnel, UVMC executive board members, the architects and medical team members broke ground.
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Troydailynews.