Carroll County General Hospital gets OK to expand

$80 million project scheduled for May start

January 27, 2002|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,SUN STAFF

Carroll County General Hospital has received state approval to start work in May on an $80 million expansion that hospital officials say is needed because of the growing population and growing confidence in the county's only hospital.

The plan, which would add 113,000 square feet and renovate 25,000 square feet, calls for the largest expansion in the history of the 40-year-old Westminster institution.

Approved last week by the Maryland Health Care Commission, the expansion includes:

Doubling the size of the emergency department by building a new 21,250-square-foot department that is to include 20 multipurpose rooms, four cardiac trauma rooms, two triage rooms, four dedicated rooms for behavioral health evaluations and an expanded fast-track area with six private rooms designed to provide faster service to people with minor illnesses and injuries.

Construction of a four-floor tower atop the south wing of the hospital, which would increase the number of private medical/surgical patient rooms from 41 to 81.

A redesigned front entrance to the 172-bed hospital.

The first phase of the expansion, which includes the new emergency department and the bed tower, is to be completed within a year.

The second phase, to be completed by 2004, includes renovations to the emergency department to expand outpatient services to include new programs for pulmonary rehabilitation, wound care and diabetes.

The hospital plans to pay for the expansion using cash reserves, bond financing and an $8 million capital campaign, said Theresa Fletcher, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

The expansion is necessary because the hospital is seeing more patients than ever, Fletcher said.

"Our [patient] volumes have increased over the last 10 years," she said.

Last year, nearly 40,000 people were treated in the emergency department, a 16 percent increase from 2000, according to the hospital. Hospital officials estimate the facility will see 55,500 emergency visits in 2010.

Inpatient visits also are expected to increase.

From 1997 to last year, inpatient visits increased from 9,230 to 11,736.

This year, the hospital expects to have 12,063 inpatient visits.

To prepare for the increasing number of patients and to make up for some of the estimated 200 parking spaces that will be lost during construction, the hospital has started excavation for a parking lot that is to add 80 spaces.

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