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UVA Health Makes Plans to Expand ER

February 21, 2014

A newly renovated emergency department at the UVa Health System is still in the planning phase, but Health System leaders say a change is needed to help better serve people in a time of emergency.

“Currently we see about 60,000 patients a year, it's our busiest services of course,” says Bo Cofield, Associate Vice President of Hospitals and Clinic Operations. “It's actually a large source of support for the community.”

Cofield says the number of patients served will go up drastically in the next decade and their new plans look at how those numbers will change.

“One of our significant components here at the health system is a research arm and many of our emergency medicine physicians are at the forefront of that.”

“A lot of it, quite frankly, is based on what we think is going to happen with the population,” says Cofield. “These are epidemiological things, illness happens at certain rates in large part and we try to apply those for the future.”

The emergency department would expand out past the old helicopter pad, and current emergency drop off entrance, allowing more space for patient needs.

“That's the most ideal site and it looks like from a sizing perspective it's going to enable us to double the size of our emergency department, move to an all private room model and meet the needs of the community more effectively,” explains Cofield.

The current emergency department is equipped with 43 beds, with new improvements; they hope to bring that number up to 80.

That will also include and eight-bed psychiatric unit and a clinical decision-making unit to help determine whether patients can be safely discharged.

These renovations could take up to three years to complete and could cost between $119 million and $145 million.

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