ISSUE: Hospital wraps emergency room expansion
OUR VIEW: Much has been done to upgrade building
It’s a shame that winter weather resulted in cancellation of Hardin Memorial Hospital’s community celebration of its expanded emergency department.
This is an $15 million achievement worthy of a party.
Emergency care is an oft-criticized aspect of medical services everywhere. A sprained knee or broken bone seems like an emergency to the person suffering, but chest pains or other life-and-death trauma often shove those wounds to the side. In today’s world, few people demonstrate patience or are willing to accept priorities that conflict with first come, first served.
Service at Hardin Memorial has been complicated for years by an undersized emergency department. The fourth-busiest ER in Kentucky, Hardin Memorial treated roughly 70,000 people annually in space designed for less than half that many.
The expanded department contains 65 exam rooms — up from 27 — in a ribbon-shaped design meant to provide enhanced security, improved flow and offer more personalized treatment.
Some key elements of the improvements are new CT scan and digital X-ray rooms in the department which speed diagnostic times and reduce inconvenience for patients. The new ER also provides spaces set aside for specific needs including sexual assault victims and patients with behavioral disorders.
The emergency department project comes on the heels of the North Tower two-story expansion and its 56 private rooms completed in March 2015 and relocation of the HMH Cancer Care Center from the hospital basement to more appropriate facilities.
These items and the emergency room plus renovation of some existing rooms to provide more private suites were the prime projects identified in a comprehensive facilities plan adopted in March 2013 by hospital trustees.
The improvements all were designed to put the desires of patients first and address key physical issues that could cause people to seek care elsewhere.
In the meantime, the hospital has completed numerous other improvements, resulting in improved care ranging from IT system upgrades, relocation of the outpatient lab and establishment of a discharge pharmacy. HMH facilities off-site also have seen improvements including the new facility for internal medicine and pediatrics along Joe Prather Highway in Radcliff, orthopedic upgrades at the Ring Road Medical Center plus additional operating space at the Outpatient Surgery Center and the Surgical Center of Elizabethtown.
Documenting all this is important because it points to the significant achievements made under Hardin County government’s direction of HMH under its management contract with Baptist Health.
While efforts to potentially sell the hospital move forward, it seems important to recognize and praise the significant strides made in recent years. Hardin Fiscal Court members, acting in their role as trustees of HMH, have proven to be outstanding stewards of the facilities with a focus on continual improvement of the region’s leading health care provider.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.