By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chad A. Bascom, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Naval Medical Center San Diego's (NMCSD) Emergency Department(ED) is being renovated and expanded to enhance patient care and reduce wait times. The current ED opened in January 1988, at that time the department was originally designed to treat 30,000 patients per year. Currently, NMCSD's ED treats approximately 69,000 patients per year.
Phase I of the renovation project started in November 2010, with the arrival of five trailers used as temporary patient care facilities for Fast Track and Rapid Treatment and Assessment. The renovation project is scheduled to be completed in June 2012.
"San Diego County has 20 Emergency Departments and we rank number two in terms of the number of patients treated per the number of beds per year. The number of beds is the limiting resource in the current ED," said Chairman of the Emergency Department, Cmdr. John Love.
Love says the renovation will increase the number of beds from 28 to 41. The ED will also have a more efficient design.
"Since almost all of our beds are full all of the time, this will give us an increased ability to surge, particularly during a disaster," said Love.
The main focus of the renovation is to better serve our patients and provide an efficient environment for the NMCSD ED staff.
"Our wait times will decrease with the expanded department which is great for our patient population because that's the main thing they're concerned about when they come to the Emergency Department. We'll also be able to see more patients per year and having our beneficiaries seen at NMCSD as opposed to a civilian ED improves follow up care as well," said Love.
Patients can now access free wireless internet in the waiting room. The ED is attempting to make it as comfortable as possible for patients while they are waiting.
"One of the main predictors of satisfaction is the wait time and we know that our wait times will come down significantly," said Love.
Also, patients meeting certain criteria are offered a restaurant style pager which allows the patient to leave the waiting room and not worry about missing their turn.
"It's a commitment to our patients, the planning and execution of this renovation while maintaining the current operating capability of the Emergency Department really requires a lot of hard work and flexibility on the ED staff and so far they've been doing it," said Love.
The $8 million renovation is currently within the budget and on time.
For more news from Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/sd/.