UMC Working To Alleviate ER Overcrowding - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/23/04

UMC Working To Alleviate ER Overcrowding

Earlier this week NewsChannel 11 found that University Medical Center is at full capacity and the situation remains the same.

Patients who need immediate care are still getting medical attention, but its those with less severe conditions that are finding the wait can be as long as four hours. But, UMC tells us they are working to alleviate the problem.

What used to be the ceiling of University Medical Center is now the site of construction where two floors are being added to better serve patients.

"It gives us additional capacity to be able to meet the patient needs not only for Lubbock but for the entire region," says Greg Bruce, Division Director for UMC.

Bruce says that although UMC is licensed to hold 365 people at one time, they reach capacity when 300 beds are full.

"On the fifth floor we're looking at an addition of 65 beds and on sixth floor we will add about 30 cardiac intensive care beds," Bruce explains.

That's a total of more than 90 additional beds and since almost half of all emergency room visits result in admittance into a room, the expansion will help with overcrowding in the ER.

"We will be able to expedite patients through the hospital in a more timely fashion, once the patients are in patient beds that frees up beds in our emergency room so that we can see ER patients as well. Greg says that your tax dollars are not paying for the wait," says Bruce.

The projects are being paid for through revenue bonds and will be paid off through the services that are provided in this new area until the expansion is complete.

Greg Bruce says ER patients are receiving attention from on-duty nurses until they can be seen. "So we're trying to keep our patients updated on what's going on with the wait while their here and make sure that they're doing okay," he adds.

UMC's 5th floor expansion will be completed by November and the 6th floor is scheduled to be ready by early Spring of next year.

We checked with Covenant and a spokesperson there told us while they are full, they do have beds available in the hospital and ER.

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