Memorial Health is ready to unveil plans for expanding and improving services at its emergency center.
The expansion comes after financial problems earlier in the year forced Memorial's CEO to ask Chatham County to refinance bonds.
Memorial's CEO Maggie Gill was at Friday's Chatham County Commission meeting.
Gill wanted to thank the commission for lowering their bond payments and announced how the $15 million it saved Memorial will be used.
That was the deal, Chatham County lower the hospital's bond payments if it improves services and the emergency department, which has grown to serve 100,000 people a year, will see the bulk of the money.
Gill said the current emergency center was built for 45,000 patients. She told WTOC that Memorial's board and staff spent the past six months deciding what projects for which to designate the $15 million.
With the 100,000 patients and as the region's only Level I Trauma Center - the emergency department tops the list for improvements, including: additional critical and intermediate care beds; a brand-new floor added to the heart and vascular tower; expansion of surgical services and an outpatient operating room.
Gill said it isn't a physical expansion as much as it is a service expansion.
"We're not building any new buildings. We are taking existing infrastructure and renovating and expanding it. We think that is the most efficient way to grow," she said.
The improvements to the emergency department will take between 18 and 24 months to complete. Using community donations, Memorial Health is also renovating the Children's Hospital.
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