For the next six months, expect some big changes to make a bigger emergency room at St. Joseph. Renovations are just getting underway for a project that could make a visit to the ER shorter.
The construction may look small now at St. Joseph, and it is. But for six months, it will be ever-present, just as the patients are.
"We have a limited pool of resources everyday," said Tim Ottinger at St. Joseph, "and what we're going to try to do is make those resources work more affectively."
And to that end, after a two-year study, the health center has mapped out a new ER, one with five new examination rooms and expanded waiting areas. It's a result of what's become a 10 percent annual increase in people using the facility. Around 55,000 came last year.
Starting in about three weeks, a side door down the path from the current entrance will become the way to get to the emergency room until October. There will be signs directing patients to that new temporary entrance. Some parking in the current ER lot will be limited as work is done.
The other big change: "When the project is finished, the emergency room entrance will only get you in to the emergency room," said Ottinger. "It won't be an entrance to the main hospital. We'll use that corridor space to, again, be more affective in what we do."
When it's all said and done, the emergency room will gain an additional 1,900 square feet. And in total, the project will cost St. Joseph $600,000, but they say service should not be adversely affected. Some construction noise is to be expected, but all in an effort to quicken a quick trip for help.
"We know we've had some wait-time issues," Ottinger said. "This will improve that wait-time issue, and everybody's happier. Our staff never likes to make people wait for care."