YRMC looking forward to meeting needs for patients
Yuma Regional Medical Center's Emergency Department has been plagued by overcrowding for some time now. In fact, nearly 77,000 people visit the ED every year, according to YRMC CEO Pat Walz.
YRMC faces an unusual set of circumstances which keep it so very busy. Those without insurance often head there for help, because YRMC can't turn them away. In fact, in the first nine months of 2012 alone, charity care at YRMC totaled $40 million. The overcrowding problem is compounded by those who head to the Emergency Department because they don't have established doctors here or aren't aware of the other options available to them, such as Urgent Care.
The statistics are amazing. The Emergency Department was designed to treat 40,000 patients a year. However, at 70,000 a year, it's treating almost double its designed capacity – an average of around 210 people per day, with only 37 beds in the department.
The good news is, YRMC is working on a new Emergency Department that will have more than three times the space as the current one.
Construction is expected to begin in January, with an estimated completion in the fall of 2016.
At 58,500 square feet, the new department will increase bed capacity to 72. It also will have adjacent radiological services for more efficient delivery of X-ray and laboratory services. The new facility will also feature an elevated helipad, parking and site enhancements, and the ability for more expansion.
The project has been on YRMC's radar for years, but it will be a challenge to pull it together. Other services, including administrative offices, outpatient services and children's rehabilitation services, will have to be relocated in order to make room at the space-challenged campus.
As with most things, change will come at a hefty price – to the tune of about $250 million.
But the upgrades are long overdue, and should alleviate many of the challenges that YRMC – and its patients – currently face. We are glad to see the project is moving forward.