Open for Care: New Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica Emergency Department Now Serving Patients
Even what little wind there was cut through the coats of the Tanner Health System staff members and contractors working in freezing temps during the predawn hours Wednesday to pull the covers off the signage for the new emergency department at Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica.
Hidden for months as crews finished work on the massive construction project that nearly doubles the footprint of the 40-bed acute care hospital, it was time at last to light the new signs for the emergency department and ambulance bay as the unit was ready to accept its first patients.
And it didn’t take long: within the first hour, the unit already had three patients in various stages of triage and evaluation.
In the former emergency department, clinical staff continued to care for two patients, including one who was being discharged home as the new unit came online. Staff then left the old unit to continue their shifts in the new space. Meanwhile, Tanner Security staff in their heavy winter coats stood watch outside the former emergency department to intercept any arrivals after the new unit’s opening and reroute them to the new unit.
“It’s exciting,” said Eric Dalton, administrator for Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica. “A lot of people have put their time and talents into making this morning successful. Our goal was to make this transition seamless for our patients, and I think we’ve accomplished that. Now, we have an emergency department that can serve our community for years to come.”
System-wide, Tanner provides care for about 100,000 emergency department visits each year, about a third of which are treated through the emergency department at Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica. As with most other hospitals, the emergency department is also the leading source of inpatient admissions for the facility.
Tanner broke ground on the $37 million expansion in January 2017, citing the area’s growing population. When the former emergency department opened with the rest of the Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica facility in 2003, the city’s population was pushing 8,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; now, the city’s population has crested 15,000 residents and continues to grow, as does the surrounding populations in northern Carroll County, western Douglas County and southern Paulding County that are also served by the hospital.
Along with the new emergency department, the expansion also features a new surgical services center, complete with state-of-the-art surgical suites capable of providing the latest minimally invasive procedures, as well as more involved orthopedic surgeries like total joint replacements. The unit also offers more than twice the number of pre-op rooms compared to the current unit, two new gastroenterology suites and a new post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) for patients to receive care immediately following surgery. The new surgical care unit is scheduled to perform its first cases Dec. 17.
The new emergency department offers 37 private exam rooms — more than twice the former unit — as well as on-unit diagnostic imaging services featuring ultrasound, digital X-ray and CT services. The unit is also staffed with board-certified, fellowship-trained emergency medicine physicians and advanced-practice providers, as well as specially trained emergency nurses and other clinicians.
“We’re so excited to be able to deliver care in a facility of this caliber,” said Jill Williams, RN, nurse manager for the emergency department at Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica. “Emergency care is something no one expects to need, but everyone does at some point in time. In this area, when that need arises, we’ll have the space and the team to help take care of our neighbors.”
Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica’s clinical programs have grown in recent years, too. The facility serves as an accredited chest pain center, offering interventional cardiology services featuring angioplasty and stenting, as well as a primary stroke center.
“With our clinical growth, we’ve become a regional destination for care,” said Dalton. “This facility is going to allow us to continue developing the services our community needs for years to come.”
More information about Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica and Tanner’s other services is available online at www.tanner.org.