EVERETT — Providence Regional Medical Center Everett has filed plans with the state Department of Health for a $32.2 million project to add 70 hospital beds.
If it wins state approval, it would be the hospital’s largest expansion since the opening of its 12-floor, $460 million medical tower in 2011. It would increase the hospital’s total inpatient capacity to 571 beds.
The expansion is needed to keep up with a growing population, especially among those 65 and up, said Kim Williams, the hospital’s chief administrative officer.
In 2015, there were nearly 35,000 adults 65 or older in Snohomish County, according to hospital data. That number is expected to grow by 5 percent, to more than 44,000 by 2020.
Visits to the hospital’s emergency room continue to climb — to just over 95,000 patients in 2015, the most recent data available.
About 56 percent of the hospital’s inpatient admissions are people initially treated in its emergency room, Williams said.
“As that volume goes up, so do our admissions,” she said.
The Department of Health reviews plans by hospitals and other medical groups to expand services. Providence hopes to get a decision on its project by summer, Williams said.
Most of the beds would be added to the medical tower’s ninth floor, which was unoccupied. It was set aside as room to grow when the tower opened five years ago. The additional beds and equipment would be added in two stages, with 32 rooms each.
Construction could start either late this year or early next year, said Darren Redick, a Providence vice president. It’s expected to take nine to 12 months to design and build the new rooms and have them ready for use by patients, he said.
Plans submitted to the state call for the remaining six patient rooms in the 70-bed expansion plan to be added to the hospital’s A wing, adjacent to the medical tower.
This year’s ongoing flu epidemic is one example of the need for more room, Williams said. Some people have been left waiting in the emergency room until a hospital bed is freed up.
“I cannot tell you how many physicians have asked, “When are we going to get more beds?’ ” Williams said. “Our community needs those beds right now.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; email@example.com.