Swedish/Edmonds announces hospital expansion plans including new ER, urgent car

EdmondsEastSwedish/Edmonds has announced plans for a $63.5 million expansion at its existing hospital campus, including a new emergency department — complete with a dedicated behavioral health unit and urgent care center — aimed at reducing emergency room waiting times.

According to Swedish/Edmonds, the two-story, 77,000-square-foot facility will also include a new outpatient diagnostic imaging center, observation unit, front entry and parking garage. The building’s second floor will be reserved for future expansion of hospital services.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2014, with completion of the emergency department and urgent care center in fall 2015.

Swedish/Edmonds said in a news release that the new expansion will offer faster, more affordable care at the urgent care center and reduce emergency department wait times, while also providing greater privacy “and a more pleasant environment overall.” The current emergency department was built in the early 1970s with a projected capacity of 25,000 patient visits per year; for the past decade, emergency visits have increased to well over 42,000 visits annually. In addition, it’s estimated that 15 percent of the patients could be served in an urgent care setting rather than in the emergency room.

“This new addition is all about putting the patient first, providing the right level of care, in the right setting, and giving patients more affordable options that fit their needs,” says David Jaffe, chief executive at Swedish/Edmonds.

The Board of Commissioners for Public Hospital District No. 2 of Snohomish County, also known as the Verdant Health Commission, has endorsed plans for the new ambulatory care center. Under a 30-year lease agreement with Swedish Health Services, the Hospital District Board of Commissioners is consulted on major issues concerning Swedish/Edmonds.

“We are thrilled with the plans presented by Swedish and with the improved care that will be offered to our residents through this expansion,” says Carl Zapora, superintendent for the Verdant Health Commission. “The plans reinforce Swedish’s commitment to our community, and we are happy to be working with such a dedicated partner.”

Features of the new ambulatory care center include:

– A new public lobby – a 7,600-square-foot concourse that’s open, inviting and patient centric

– A 23,400-square-foot ED with 29 exam rooms, including rooms for behavioral health

– A 12-bed observation unit

– New imaging equipment – a CT scanner, two new digital X-ray machines, new ultrasound equipment and dedicated space to add a new MRI in the future

– A new, two-story parking structure, capable of accommodating more than 300 vehicles with free parking

– 37,000-square-feet of additional shelled space on the second floor of the new ambulatory care center to be used for future hospital services and programs

Swedish/Edmonds has been working to improve the campus and its community health care services since the former Stevens Hospital affiliation with Swedish occurred in late 2010. For example, in 2011, robotic-assisted surgery was offered as a new choice for the community. In 2012, a new $12 million electronic health record system was implemented. This year, a new two-story, 17,000-square-foot outpatient cancer center opened.

“New ambulatory services are a key step for us,” Jaffe said. “The addition of a shelled second floor allows us to plan for the future with the option of expanding other hospital services and programs. That’s always been our focus – looking forward and anticipating the needs of our community.”

The milestone project will be the hospital’s most ambitious since the nine-story patient tower opened in 1972. Fifty years ago, construction began on the original 110-bed, $1-million hospital.

The Swedish Foundation will seek support for the project from private donors, foundations and corporations.

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