After a decade of planning and $50 million spent, WellSpan York Hospital has completed the renovation of its emergency department.

The expanded 54,000-square-foot facility will nearly significantly increase the department’s annual patient capacity from 45,000 patients before the renovation to an expected 82,000 patients per year, according to a news release. "The rooms are much more spacious (and) much more private," said Dr. Erik Kocher, WellSpan York Hospital’s interim director of emergency medicine. Kocher said the area's treatment space had not been updated since the 1980s.

“Our region’s sickest patients choose us knowing that they will receive the highest level of care by the best clinicians,” said WellSpan Health Vice President and York Hospital President Keith Noll in a news release. “This new, state-of-the-art facility will enhance this lifesaving level of care.”

Along with a new entrance and waiting area, there is an eight-room “rapid unit” for patients with less severe conditions who come in through the emergency room.

"One of the nicest things (about the renovation) is that I think it reflects the state-of-the-art facilities" elsewhere in the hospital's campus, Kocher said.

For patients with more severe conditions, the new critical-care center will have 35 private exam rooms, including three rooms for pediatrics and six rooms reserved for simultaneous resuscitation if necessary. Kocher said the resuscitation rooms were an especially welcome upgrade, as it helps "fit in the technologies" needed to maximize care.

Since early 2015, three centers within the emergency department have opened, including a new six-room behavioral health suite that opened in September.

A new helipad, completed in February 2015, nearly doubled the size of the prior helipad and added snow-melting capabilities for faster and safer arrivals.

York Hospital is the only accredited Level 1 Trauma Center in York, Adams, Lancaster and Franklin counties. The trauma center treated 2,151 patients in fiscal year 2016, according to a WellSpan Emergency Department facilities fact sheet.

A new sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) suite has opened as well. It has a private room equipped with forensic capabilities for instant analysis.

WellSpan York Hospital is the third WellSpan hospital to renovate its emergency department in the past five years. Gettysburg Hospital and Ephrata Community Hospital renovated their facilities in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

The construction project initially broke ground in August 2014. Kocher said he and the rest of the emergency department staff is excited for the project's completion. "It’s been a long time coming," he said.

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