Valley General Hospital upgrading emergency room

A $1.7 million upgrade to Valley General Hospital’s emergency room is now under way.

The project’s goal is to provide more waiting room space and to provide quicker treatment for patients who don’t have life-threatening injuries.

“If you come to our emergency department right now, there’s a small waiting area,” said Brenda Rogers, an associate administrator at the hospital. All patients arriving at the hospital in ambulances are wheeled through the same area as walk-in emergency room patients, she said.

Walk-in and ambulance patients will have separate entries when the improvements are completed at the end of this year.

The waiting area will be increased by about 25 percent, or 1,250 square feet, enough space to seat about 40 people. Work on the project is expected to begin this week.

The upgrade will also allow for quicker registration and treatment of patients who need to be seen by hospital staff, but don’t have serious injuries.

A new area will be added for treatment of these patients, stocked with basic supplies such as warm blankets and ice bags, to help speed up the time it takes for treatment, she said.

A physician assistant will be assigned to the triage area with the hope that it can help cut the time it takes to be treated from about 2.5 hours to about 90 minutes, Rogers said.

About 30 percent of the patients who come to the emergency room will be able to be treated in the new “fast track” system, she said.

Last year, the hospital’s emergency room treated 20,643 patients.

Other parts of the hospital’s overall $2.4 million improvement plan include upgrades to its medical records area, moving the hospital’s business office to an adjacent building and structural upgrades to its surgical area, said Kathy Nelson, hospital spokeswoman.

The project is being paid for by a seven-year loan, she said.

Reporter Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com

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