Swedish/Edmonds plans $63.5 million expansion

EDMONDS — Swedish/Edmonds has announced plans to expand the hospital with a planned two-story, 77,000-square-foot emergency department with a dedicated behavioral health unit and urgent-care center.

The expansion comes with a price tag estimated at $63.5 million.

The new space 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.

The expansion will offer faster, more affordable care at the urgent-care center and reduce emergency department wait times, while also providing greater privacy there and a more pleasant environment overall, hospital officials said.

The current emergency department at Swedish/Edmonds was built in the early 1970s with a projected capacity of 25,000 patient visits per year. For the past decade, emergency room visits have increased to more than 42,000 annually. Hospital officials figure that 15 percent of the patients could be served in an urgent-care setting rather than the emergency department.

“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,” Swedish/Edmonds CEO David Jaffe said in a news release. “The investment in our campus will improve access to our ED, as well as provide needed local outpatient services and enhance the overall patient experience.”

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,” Carl Zapora, superintendent for the Verdant Health Commission, said in the news release. “The plans reinforce Swedish’s commitment to our community.”

Features of the new ambulatory care center include:

•A new lobby with a 7,600-square-foot concourse.

A 23,400-square-foot emergency department with 29 exam rooms, including rooms for behavioral health.

A 12-bed observation unit.

A new CT scanner, two new digital X-ray machines, new ultrasound equipment and space reserved for a future MRI scanner.

A new, two-story parking structure for more than 300 vehicles.

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

The project represents a next step in what has been a concerted effort by Swedish/Edmonds to improve its campus and services since Stevens Hospital affiliated with Swedish in late 2010, hospital officials said. In 2011, robotic-assisted surgery was offered. In 2012, a $12 million electronic health record system was implemented. This year, a 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 emergency department 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 hospital at a cost of $1 million.

“News about the hospital expansion has already generated a lot of excitement with the medical staff,” Dr. Babu Rajendran, president of the medical staff at Swedish/Edmonds, said in the news release. “We’re elated about this project and are eager to get started.”

Community philanthropy will play an important role and the Swedish Foundation will seek support from private donors, foundations and corporations. Proceeds from the Swedish/Edmonds Imagine Gala, set for Nov. 15, will help raise money for the project.

Kurt Batdorf: 425-339-3102; kbatdorf@heraldnet.com.

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