ECH opens new wing

ELIZABETHTOWN Marking the completion of the first phase of a $6.7 million expansion project for the Elizabethtown Community Hospital, leaders of the proudly announced the opening of their latest expansion Oct. 2 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The recently completed construction includes a new emergency room area, main entrance, veterans clinic, and new procedure rooms for specialty physicians. With two rooms for each specialist, the number of patients treated for outpatient procedures will effectively double, meaning fewer patients will have to wait until the doctors next visit to be treated. In addition, patients will now benefit from exam rooms with better privacy and brand new equipment. A new, more spacious waiting area, complete with locally-made rustic furniture, will provide added comfort for both patients and their families. A new workroom was added specifically for use by the many EMTs who treat patients en route to the hospital, and a new outdoor wash bay will serve as a place to clean a contaminated ambulance. Many years of planning have gone into this and were really pleased with the results. said hospital administrator Rod Boula. According to Boula, the addition opened five weeks ahead of schedule on Sept. 22 and has been filled to capacity ever since. Meanwhile, patients have complimented the hospitals improved services and emergency volunteers have lauded the added facilities. Our hospitals success is dependent on people using our services, said Boula. We want to make ourselves better by having state-of-the-art equipment and remain at the same level as the facilities around us. Focus now moves to the second phase of the project, which involves renovations to more than 13,000 square feet of the original building. The plan includes a new pharmacy with support for chemotherapy, expansion of the laboratory, and clustering Radiology services into one area. The entire hospital will be easier for patients to navigate, said hospital community relations director Kerry Haley. Further projects include the expansion of the hospitals outpatient physical therapy department and the addition of a cardiac rehabilitation program. Fundraising committee chair George Maffey thanked Helen Paul and Jamie Paul Clark for leading the way in contributions for the project. Both participated in the ribbon cutting. Today we are at $1.58 million against a $2 million goal, said Maffey, who went on to announce a verbal commitment from the Kresge foundation to match $200,000 of the remaining contributions. Their approval of this request puts the good housekeeping seal on the hospitals leadership and on this project, he said. Guests at the ceremony were treated to a tour of the new addition. Its special to me because my mom was at the groundbreaking of the original facility, said Elizabethtown Supervisor Noel Merrihew, who was reminded of the hospitals move in 1965. This is a phenomenal asset, not just to the town of Elizabethtown, but also the surrounding communities to have this critical-care facility.

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