Doctors Hospital to get new ER

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 Messenger photo by Whitney Wilson Coy
 Doctors Hospital on West Broad Street will raze the former Columbian Heights United Methodist Church and a medical offices building on the northeast side of the hospital to build a two-story addition to house a new emergency department and a medical education center. Work could begin this fall and is expected to take between 18 months and two years to complete.

A new emergency department and medical education center will be built at Doctors Hospital on West Broad Street that should be open in 2010.

OhioHealth will spend between 18 months and two years working on the two-story addition on the northeast side of the hospital. Some of the new structure will occupy space where the former Columbian Heights United Methodist Church now stands.

Approval came after the OhioHealth Board of Directors approved $15 million while the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation added $12.5 million.

“The time has come,” said Doctors Hospital President Mike Reichfield. “The (current) emergency room was designed to treat 40,000 patients a year and we’re now seeing more than 70,000.”

The addition will offer more treatment rooms to handle the larger capacity and allow patients more privacy, Reichfield said, explaining that currently emergency beds are separated by curtains.

“There will be a better triage area,” he added. “Patients will be seen earlier by a physician or a nurse and treatment can begin quicker.”

The expanded and enhanced emergency department will be designed to handle 100,000 patients a year.

The second floor of the addition will contain an area where residents, doctors and nurses will be offered the latest in medical education.

“We currently teach 160 residents,” Reichfield said.

Most of the residents come from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Hospital at Athens, but some will also come from other hospitals, he said.

The Medical Education Center will also have a 300-seat auditorium, classrooms, skills labs and an information center as Doctors Hospital works to become the premier osteopathic medical facility.

“We have a long way to go,” the president said.

One of the first things to be done will be to raze the church, which has been used for fire department training since the congregation moved to its new building on Galloway Road.

Work could begin as early as this fall.

Also scheduled for razing is an older medical offices building.

Some parking spaces will be displaced during the construction.

“There will be some disruptions but not as many as if we were renovating,” Reichfield said.

“We are grateful to the (Osteopathic Heritage) Foundation for its support, which continues a long-standing commitment to the community and osteopathic medical care,” said Reichfield. “These projects will have a tremendous impact on the health of the Westside communities and the breadth and depth of our medical education programs.”

Medical personnel at the hospital are also excited about the expansion project.

“We couldn’t be more excited to see this project move forward in order to continue to fulfill our overarching commitment to the healthcare needs of the Westside communities,” said Dr. Bruce Jones, medical director at the hospital.

And the vice president of Medical Education likes the partnership with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation.

“OhioHealth and the Foundation recognize Doctors Hospital’s important role in training some of the nations most highly regarded osteopathic physicians,” said Dr. Deborah Blackwell. “We have a vision of Doctors Hospital becoming the nation’s leading site for osteopathic medical education and research. A major step toward this vision is being taken with the opportunity to develop a state-of-the-art education center as we continue to expand our educational assessment strategies.”

Starting this project is another sign of progress at the hospital. The medical office building across the street is nearing completion.

“That will provide convenient, modern office space for our growing medical staff,” said Reichfield. “A number of family practice physicians and specialists have joined Doctors Hospital’s staff in the past year, expanding services in the areas of orthopedics, family and internal medicine and cardiology.”

OhioHealth, which operates Doctors Hospital, is a family of 17 hospitals, 20 health and surgery centers, home-health providers, medical equipment and heath service suppliers throughout 46 Ohio counties.

The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation supports medical care, medical education and medical research at osteopathic hospitals.

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