The Lancaster hospital said Tuesday that it would be adding a 63-bed, 2,500-square-foot temporary annex to its emergency department at 500 N. Duke St. as it looks into a permanent addition.
For the past two years, Lancaster General Health’s emergency department has seen more than 20,000 patients per year over and above the 90,000 it is designed to handle.
The temporary annex is expected to open in July and would be located on the hospital’s emergency ramp. It would allow the hospital to increase its capacity in a space that would be nearly indistinguishable from the original emergency department, said John Lines, director of public relations and corporate communications for the hospital.
“We identified this addition as one approach that will help us with the growth and demand of emergency care at the hospital,” Lines said. “Patients would not even know they are in the temporary part of the emergency department.”
Hospital leaders first discussed an addition to the emergency department last year after data showed the department saw 117,000 patients in 2017. The addition would cost approximately $3 million and would be provided by Johnson Portables, a Michigan-based company specialized in portable medical buildings.
The announcement is coming on the heels of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster’s closure, scheduled for the end of the month. EMS and ambulance services plan to stop transporting patients to the UPMC hospital on Feb. 23, diverting patients to UPMC Pinnacle Lititz and Lancaster General Health instead.
The closing of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster, expected to be finalized on Feb. 28, was not a part of the decision making process for the new modular building, according to Line. However, the expanded emergency department would aid in any increase in patients come July.
The hospital will need more staff for the addition but has not yet announced how many employees it expects to hire. Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, a nonprofit hospital in the city, has 786 beds and employs a network of 625 physicians and advanced practice professionals in more than 50 offices.