The Wyoming Medical Center in Casper had a ceremonial grand opening of its emergency department Friday. Vickie Diamond, hospital president and CEO, thanked the contractor, Haselden/Pope, for minimizing the impact to patients and staff during the 13-month, nearly 9-million-dollar renovation project. She also said she appreciated them completing the project under budget.

 

Medical response for region:

"We're the only full-service hospital in a 150 mile radius. Our EMTs, our paramedics, our ambulance and Life Flight service crews are often the first responders to virtually every medical emergency in the area. Over the past year, our emergency room has seen 35 thousand patients."

Ms. Diamond also thanked the donors to Wyoming Medical Center Foundation, which was able to raise 4 million dollars for capital construction.

Emergency Department Director, Dr. Ron Iverson, said the construction is complete but they still have some procedural issues to work out. The new emergency department has 27 rooms, and they've divided it into pods, a Fast track pod, a medical pod, and a trauma pod.

Busy departments sort for needs:

"Any time an ER exceeds about 35 or 40 thousand, we have to break them up into pods because it would be very confusing to manage 19 beds with one group of people, so you would break it up so they would have a smaller amount."

There is a triage system which coordinates which patients go where, and the advantage of the pod system is so that medical staff isn't stretched too thin when the department is busy, says Dr. Iverson.

 

Pods work in conjunction:

"The medical pod and the trauma pod are contiguous, so they're right next to each other, and they're designed to expand and contract. Our goal is that when we're busy, we run those somewhat autonomously but with the ability to flex staff and patients in either one. Sometimes you have to move patients from one to the other."

Some of the upgrades include larger, better equipped rooms and a computer tracking system to help reduce the time patients are in the emergency department.