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Memorial Reaches Halfway Mark on $14.5 Million ER Expansion

ER building

Lake Charles Memorial has wrapped up Phase 2 of a four-phase project to expand and renovate the emergency department. Phase 2 adds a new enlarged waiting room, two triage stations, a fast-track area and more patient beds. When all is said and done, $14.5 million will have been spent, doubling the size of the entire department and renovating the existing space.

“Overall we are adding more beds, specialized treatment areas depending upon the seriousness of an injury or illness, and a dedicated area for psychiatric patient treatment,” says Dr. Jon Gray, ER Medical Director. “There will also be a test results waiting room and a fast-track area for patients with non-life threatening conditions. All of this is intended to improve the flow of patients and the waiting times due to the increase in patient volume over the past few years.”

Since 2012, the number of patients in Memorial’s ER has doubled from treating 36,000 emergency patients a year to 63,000 in 2015. Because Memorial is the largest, full-service health system in Southwest Louisiana with the most specialists, it is not uncommon to have 200 patients come through the emergency department in a day. These upgrades will help treat a growing population by getting patients diagnosed, treated and through the care process faster, while reducing time spent in the waiting room.

Phase 1 of the project included renovating the two trauma rooms and incorporating a digital CT scanner inside the emergency department, allowing more convenient and quicker access to emergency diagnostics. Phase 3 will consist of renovating the existing waiting room area into treatment bed area and building out a specific area for psychiatric patients. Phase 4 is the renovation of the existing ER to match the new construction.

“Not only are we updating and expanding the physical building, but these upgrades allow us to offer more services to a wider range of medical needs,” Dr. Gray says. “We want to keep expanding our services to allow patients to be treated in Lake Charles and not be forced to travel to another city for care.”

The emergency department project is part of $166 million that Memorial Health System has spent on construction and upgrades since 2007 to build a better patient experience for patients.