Friday, January 19th, 2007
By Shelley Grieshop
$3 million hospital expansion plan OK'd
Construction to start later this year on ER unit in Coldwater
  The green light was given this week for a nearly $3 million construction project at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater.
Mercer Health Board of Trustees approved final design plans during a meeting this week, paving the way for construction to begin later this year, according to interim CEO Jim Wermert.
"It will depend on how long it takes to develop the drawings," he said.
The project will enhance many areas of the hospital, specifically the zone around the emergency department, adding approximately 10,000-square-feet to the east end of the building, Wermert said. It also is the "first part" of several other projects under consideration by the strategic planning task force, which includes the medical staff, board members and Mercer Health staff, he said.
Calling the initial project Phase 1, Wermert refrained from giving any details on future construction plans.
"The strategic planners recognize the hospital is here to serve the whole area," Wermert said.
The initial construction plan is the "first step to make sure we are providing the best ER (emergency room) care in the county," he added.
The initial goal is to create a new emergency department and centralize outpatient services. The new emergency department will include separate treatment rooms, a new waiting area and a new MRI diagnostic suite, which will replace the mobile unit that currently parks at the hospital on a regular basis.
The emergency department also will be converted into a centralized outpatient services area, including registration services and cardiology diagnostic services.
"This will provide easier access to lab, X-ray and cardiology services," Wermert said. "Currently, these patients need to walk through the hospital to get to these areas."
Also included in the initial plans is a cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation unit, a service that continues to grow in the medical world. The area will be more accessible to patients to do their exercise and receive education, Wermert said.
A new outpatient parking area also is included in the plans.
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