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Published: Friday, February 11, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

New emergency room stands apart

Fully equipped ER has no hospital; open house Saturday

  • Swedish/Mill Creek, near the intersection of I-5 and 128th Street SE in south Everett, is an emergency room unlike most — one without a hospital...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Swedish/Mill Creek, near the intersection of I-5 and 128th Street SE in south Everett, is an emergency room unlike most — one without a hospital on-site. The $30 million facility opens its doors for an open house on Saturday and will begin treating patients next Thursday. Here, Dr. John Milne shows off the new CT scan imaging machine. Story, A9.

  • Crews work to complete the the new Swedish/Mill Creek emergency room.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Crews work to complete the the new Swedish/Mill Creek emergency room.

  • A state-of-the-art electronic imaging center awaits patients at the new Swedish emergency care facility.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    A state-of-the-art electronic imaging center awaits patients at the new Swedish emergency care facility.

  • In a first-floor administrative center at the new Swedish/Mill Creek emergency facility, staff members prepare for the Feb. 17 opening.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    In a first-floor administrative center at the new Swedish/Mill Creek emergency facility, staff members prepare for the Feb. 17 opening.

  • Allison Rosandich of Interior Foliage Co., places potted plants throughout exterior walkways at the new Swedish/Mill Creek emergency facility.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Allison Rosandich of Interior Foliage Co., places potted plants throughout exterior walkways at the new Swedish/Mill Creek emergency facility.

  • Staff members prepare a third-floor lab in the new Swedish/Mill Creek emergency facility.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Staff members prepare a third-floor lab in the new Swedish/Mill Creek emergency facility.

  • Computer electronics connect all services at the Swedish ER in Mill Creek.

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Computer electronics connect all services at the Swedish ER in Mill Creek.

Swedish Health Service’s satellite emergency room is ready to open its doors.
The emergency room is part of a three-story, $30 million medical building called Swedish/Mill Creek. It was built near the 128th Street exit of I-5 on property that was the former home of the Puget Park Drive-In.
The new emergency room officially opens on Thursday, just six months after construction cranes began lifting its large concrete walls into place, the first big step toward its completion.
During an open house scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, the public will get a chance to tour a different kind of emergency room, one that isn’t part of a hospital.
Swedish officials say the emergency room is being opened near Mill Creek because they felt the area was “under-served,” that people had no quick or close access to emergency medical services.
Its new emergency room is halfway between Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, 9.6 miles to the north, and Swedish/Edmonds, 8.9 miles to the south.
While patients with life-threatening injuries will still be taken to hospital emergency rooms, Swedish/Mill Creek will take care of what are some of the most common types of problems seen in emergency rooms — sports injuries, cuts, broken bones and sprains.
It provides an alternative place for people to go on weekends or late night hours when walk-in clinics are closed when they have problems such as high fevers, which could signal either the onset of flu or an even more serious problem.
A 2010 study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only about 16 percent of patients treated in hospital emergency rooms are actually admitted to hospitals. And another 20 percent could be seen in urgent care or walk-in clinics, rather than emergency rooms, said Dr. John Milne, a Swedish physician who oversees its satellite emergency rooms.
“That still leaves 60 percent that need emergency-room service but don’t need to go to the hospital,” Milne said. “That’s really the target market we’re looking at, that gap in the middle.”
This is the third such emergency room Swedish has opened. The first was in Issaquah in 2005. The next opened in Redmond in December.
Swedish is promising fast emergency room services without long waits at the new Mill Creek offices.
In Issaquah, waits for patients to be initially examined are reduced to 90 seconds or less, said Milne.
On average, Issaquah patients are treated, diagnosed and ready to be discharged in about 85 minutes, he said.
The Swedish/Mill Creek emergency room has 18 treatment rooms, each outfitted with overhead surgical-style lighting and cardiac monitoring equipment, Milne said.
Each treatment room looks out onto a large work area for emergency room staff, so patients can be easily monitored.
A nearby digital X-ray machine can produce images in about five seconds.
The building’s CT scanner is one of the most advanced diagnostic imaging machines of its kind now owned by Swedish, Milne said. It can produce images so quickly it can catch the heart as it’s beating.
The scanner’s speed in producing images is similar to how a camera works, Milne said. “With this generation of scanners, we’re able to increase the ‘shutter speed’ ... fast enough to stop the action.”
CT machines are used for tests that need to be done quickly, such as when physicians want to know if there is bleeding in a patient’s brain or to get 3-D images of bones, Milne said. It uses X-rays to produce the images.
The MRI machine, housed in an adjacent room, is often used to photograph non-bony or soft tissue parts of the body, such as whether discs are bulging in the spine, Milne said.
MRI machines use magnetic fields to produce images.
The costs of just these two machines is about $5 million, said Jody Elsom, a project manager for Swedish/Mill Creek.
Patients can be treated for a maximum of 23 hours and then must be discharged or transferred to a hospital.
Outpatient services that will be offered at Swedish/Mill Creek include mammography, family practice and internal medicine physicians.
The building’s laboratory, like the emergency room, will be staffed 24 hours a day.
When the building opens next Thursday, it will employ about 100 people, including doctors, nurses, technicians, laboratory workers and other staff.
Additional services, such as physical therapy and outpatient cardiac diagnostic services, are scheduled to open in May.
Swedish has four hospital campuses, three in Seattle and one in Edmonds, and operates 40 primary care and specialty clinics in the Puget Sound region. It plans to open a new hospital near Issaquah this summer.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com
Open house
Saturday’s open house at Swedish/Mill Creek is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 13020 Meridian Ave. SE, near the 128th Street exit of I-5.






Story tags » Mill CreekHospitals & Clinics

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