St. Michael dedicates expanded ER

By Randy Grider

CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital-Atlanta dedicated its expanded emergency department with a blessing ceremony and ribbon-cutting this past Wednesday.
The $900,000 expansion project increased the emergency department from five rooms to 10 rooms specifically designed to provide advanced care to a wide range of emergency cases with a special focus on trauma, stroke, chest pains, pediatrics and psychiatrics.
Hospital Administrator Thomas McKinney said expansion has been a long-term project.
“It’s been three years in the thought process and easily two years in the making,” McKinney said. “It’s really overwhelming to finally see it come together.”
The expansion includes two emergency department entrances. One is for walk-ins and the other for more critical patients who are transported to the hospital via ambulance or other emergency vehicle. Hospital officials said the  layout is designed for more efficient patient care, giving the nursing staff and physicians greater visibility to each treatment room. 
“We opened the [ambulance] entrance just a couple of months ago, and we’ve already seen an immediate impact on our patients’ experience, to the efficiency of our clinical staff and everything we do. We are thrilled to open phase 2 and get it up and functioning.”  
Chris Karam, president and CEO of CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System, thanked McKinney for his leadership and the community support of the hospital.
“We now have designation here as a trauma center,” Karam said. “We now have designation as a stroke center. We are now working on designation here as a chest pain center. That is a huge commitment to make sure that we don’t just provide care here, but that we are providing excellent care. 
“It takes everybody to make that happen. That’s the community support, that’s the associates and the wonderful medical staff all working to make this happen.”
Other recent investments that will support the new enhanced emergency services at the hospital include a newly digital x-ray suite, upgraded CT scanner and various pieces of minor equipment from patient stretchers to lobby furniture.
“Over the past three years, we have experienced a growing number of emergency visits and high level of acuity in Atlanta,” McKinney said. “We are very excited to complete this expansion project to better serve the needs of Cass County residents. The expanded emergency department and investment in specialty certifications for our staff demonstrate the continued commitment CHRISTUS Health, our local foundation, volunteers and associates have to the people of the greater Cass County community.”
Miranda Johnson, president of the Atlanta Area Chamber of Commerce, said St. Michael Hospital-Atlanta is an important member of the community.
“We could not be more pleased to have CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital–Atlanta as a part of our Chamber and community,” Johnson said. “The new and expanded emergency department is just another testament to the outstanding local leadership and strong investment CHRISTUS has taken in our hometown hospital. We are blessed to have such an important and quality asset right here in Cass County.”

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