Officials with Cox Branson are celebrating a multi-million dollar emergency department and critical care unit expansion. A ribbon cutting was held Friday morning, ahead of a community open house scheduled for this weekend.
The 60,000 square foot renovation, which is expected to be open to patients by the end of the month, marks the first phase of a $30 million project that began one year ago. Renovations to the facility’s interior are to be completed by the holidays, the hospital said in a press release.
The project was made possible through a 2012 affiliation agreement that merged Skaggs Regional Medical Center with CoxHealth.
“A requirement of the affiliation agreement was that CoxHealth would spend $25 million by December 2014 on our physical facilities,” said William Mahoney, president of Cox Medical Center Branson. “When the decision was made to build a new ED and CCU, the contractor suggested we improve our entry points even though it would increase our project to $30 million. The CoxHealth board and (CoxHealth President and CEO) Steve Edwards did not flinch at the extra dollars to do the project right, even though it was $5 million above what was required.”
The road project, which will create a continuous road from CoxHealth Outpatient Center to the hospital, is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
“When I took the pre-tour earlier this week, I became emotional and wasn’t sure why,” Mahoney said. “I thought for a minute and reflected back four years ago, when our staff didn’t have large enough rooms to work in, equipment didn’t have all the bells and whistles, patient waiting areas were small and cramped and staff wondered about our future. Now as we walked the new halls, I saw the nurses smile because of the overhead lifts in the CCU that would assist them in taking care of their patients, new technology that allows our providers to better treat and communicate with the patients and their families, spacious waiting areas, and staff that is now confident about our future. I felt overwhelmed with joy.”
According to Dr. Brian Clonts, chief medical officer, the new facility allows for a more efficient use of services and optimizes bedside nursing.
“Patients will notice a distinct difference between the new emergency department and our current ER, as well as our new and old critical care and intensive care units. Both are much more comfortable for patients and their families and create more of an atmosphere for relaxation,” Clonts said.
Cox Branson says while the addition is the most visible change since the merger became official on January 1, 2013, it points to many behind-the-scenes improvements. That includes a recruitment effort that has brought in 13 new physicians.
A community open house will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the public is invited to tour the new addition and learn more about the improvements.