Kalispell Regional Medical Center's emergency department was built in the mid 70's, last expanded in 1991 and now, officials say, is in desperate need of a $14-million-dollar renovation.
Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation president, Tagen Vine, says the emergency department records about 23,000 patient visits annually.
Vine says KRMC's emergency room was built in 1976 and at that time was designed to handle 9,000 annual patient visits. The 1991 renovation expanded that capacity to 13,000 patients.
Projections are calling for 15-percent growth over the next three to four years; that amounts to roughly 28,000 annual patient visits.
Vine says the Emergency Department's growing pains are acute and growing worse all the time:
"We have two trauma rooms that have two beds in each that only have a curtain separating the two, so there's really a privacy and a space issue for caregivers all the way around. If you have a traumatic car accident -you've got everything from head injuries to broken ankles - you've got caregivers from the top of your head, all the way down to your toes all the way around the bed. Some of those spaces are just too tight to have room for your family members and caregivers in one exam room or one trauma room."
Vine adds the ED also treats victims of sexual assault, psychiatric patients and people who've overdosed on drugs or alcohol:
"So our goal is to raise $14-million-dollars to be able to expand our emergency room into the space that was vacated when we moved our operating rooms and same-day surgery into the new surgical tower. So, by doing that first, now we have 20-thousand to 25-thousand square feet right on the other side of a wall from where the emergency room is that we can go in a renovate existing space, saving the emergency room project about $10-million-dollars. We should be able to go from about 8,100-square-feet of the current emergency department to 34-thousand-square feet."
Vine says a renovated KRMC emergency room could serve the region for another 20 years.
$8-million of the $14-million-dollar price tag has already been raised. He says it will require significant donations to reach the the $6-million-dollar balance, but every contribution would be helpful and appreciated.
For more information, visit the Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation's website, or call 406-751-6930