The prognosis is good for York Hospital patients weary about the long waits and

lack of privacy in the facility's emergency department.

WellSpan Health, which runs the hospital, announced last week it will spend $50

million to completely redesign and renovate the department, the first such

treatment it has received in 20 years.

The plan is just what the doctor ordered "" and none too soon, we might add.

The current emergency department cares for nearly 78,000 patients a year in a

facility designed to treat about 50,000.

Patients sometimes have to wait hours to be seen, answer personal questions with

only a curtain separating them from others, and bide their time in a hospital bed

in a hallway if no room is available.

"But we want to do better for the York community," said York Hospital President

Keith Noll.

Noting the local population is growing and aging, Noll said the new department is

projected to serve 88,000 patients annually by 2025.

To alleviate overcrowding, several new treatment areas will be added; a redesign

of the department's process will include quickly sorting each patient depending

on what level of care they need, Noll said.

As for wait times, the goal is to eliminate them altogether, according to Dr.

James Amsterdam, chair emeritus of the hospital's Department of Emergency

Medicine. He said he thinks the redesign will allow them to achieve that 85

percent of the time.

All of this is good news for area residents.

With a little luck and preventive care, they might never need the service.

But it's good to know that if they do, there will be a streamlined,

state-of-the-art emergency department ready to treat them.