A ribbon cutting ceremony marked another milestone in healthcare for the area with Parkland Health Center officials dedicating the newly expanded emergency department.

Members of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the city of Farmington were on hand to celebrate with hospital officials.

The expansion adds 6,300 square feet to the existing emergency department, including 11 additional patient treatment rooms, waiting room space, and an enclosed walkway connecting the main hospital entrance to the emergency department waiting area. In addition to the newly constructed space, 2,950 square feet of existing space has been modified as part of this expansion project.

Other additions are three new trauma rooms, three new psychiatric rooms which can be converted to regular emergency exam rooms, two redesigned nurses’ stations, and a new “results-pending” area. Many other additions and enhancements were included in this expansion.

“Once again, BJC HealthCare has responded to the urgent need for enhanced emergency department services in St. Francois and surrounding counties,” said Tom Karl, president of Parkland Health Center. “Expanding and renovating a large emergency department while it remains open and fully functioning is an extremely complex undertaking.

“I am proud of our leadership team, our emergency staff, and the multitude of skilled professionals who worked diligently toward the successful completion of this massive project.”

Marianne Fournie is the Chief Nursing Officer for Parkland Health Center, who noted the expansion to 16,000 square feet allows for expansion in more ways than space.

“But, the best part is we’ve expanded our capacity to take care of patients more timely,” she said. “That’s the most important thing.”

Fournie said there is additional staffing for the department in addition to the 11 additional rooms.

“We can meet the needs of the community, particularly for those with stroke, heart attack and immediate emergency needs,” she said.

Dr. Bruce Harrison is the facility medical director who has worked in this area for 30 years. He noted the significance of the expansion and its impact on the surrounding area.

“For me, living in the community, what this means is bringing great healthcare to the community,” he said.

It was noted the need for additional capacity grew following the closure of the Weber Road emergency department.

“The new (emergency department) is going to be good because we had a lot of growing pains during the merger of Mineral Area and (Parkland),” he said. “Now that we’ve actually expanded, we’ve done a lot of work and Sarah Worley (project manager, patient care services) has done a lot of work on optimizing in getting patients into a room in the emergency room. After we get them into a room, we get them seen and treated as efficiently as possible.

Harrison said the number of individuals treated at the emergency department is the third busiest in the BJC system when combining the numbers of both Parkland Health Center facilities in Farmington and Bonne Terre.

Statistics for 2016 show a total of 46,654 emergency department visits at Parkland Health Center.

“We’re only behind main Barnes and Christian,” he said. “We’re above Missouri Baptist (Hospital), we’re above Children’s (Hospital), and we’re above all the other BJC facilities in terms of our volume.”

The Farmington facility averages about 100 patients a day, with around 38 average in Bonne Terre.

“We’re close to 140 a day between the two facilities,” he said. “The problem is…getting the through-put, getting people seen, transferred or admitted as quickly as possible. That’s where our growing pains have been. We’ve done a lot of work on that and now we have the capacity, the rooms, the staffing.

“The expanded emergency facility is beautifully done. We are very pleased, and I applaud our emergency department staff for persevering throughout this lengthy and complex process and continuing always to provide excellent patient care.”

The emergency department at Parkland-Farmington was previously expanded in 2008, when BJC HealthCare invested in a new emergency facility that doubled the square footage and capacity of the facility.

“I’ve watched our community and its medical needs grow significantly over the years,” Board chair Katie Rhodes said. “This is the second major expansion of our emergency department at Parkland, the first occurring in 2008 when the department’s capacity was doubled. BJC and Parkland continue to be proactive in striving to meet this community’s medical needs. The board is thrilled with this expansion, and we trust it will serve this community for many years.”

Kathy Ferguson is the emergency services nurse manager and said the expanded emergency department allows the facility to “provide the right care for the whole community. Here we have a bigger ER to do that.”

The project began with a ground-breaking ceremony on May 5, 2016 and the emergency department has remained fully functioning throughout the entire construction and renovation process.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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Farmington Press Managing Editor

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