ROCK ISLAND -- A dramatic rise in emergency room and cardiac patients is driving Trinity Regional Health System's decision to build $61.3 million, 90,000 square-foot expansion to its Rock Island campus.
ER patient visits were up 7 percent -- to 35,676 -- in 2012 from 2011 said. Trinity President and CEO Rick Seidler. He said space needs are critical as demand for cardiac, emergency and psychiatric patient services is expected to soar an additional 8 percent by 2014.
Ground will be broken on the two-year project in June, assuming the state of Illinois approves the certificate of need application at a meeting March 26. Completion is planned for the summer 2015.
It will be the largest expansion project in Trinity Regional Health System's 40-year history. Planned are a three-story expansion for the emergency room and cardiac departments at Trinity Rock Isalnd, 2701 17th St.
Very few capital improvements have been made in the past 40 years and they can't wait any longer, said Mr. Seidler.
"Our facilities are so small, staff are jumping over cables to work on patients," said Dr. Sanjeev Puri, a cardiologist with Trinity. "I think there is a great need."
"We have antiquated emergency rooms. No one likes to be separated by a thin curtain, able to hear what's going on next to them," said Dr. Kevin Kurth, Trinity's Director of Emergency Medicine. "A high percentage come in with psychiatric issues and they have to stay in the department until they can be evaluated."
In 2012, 35,676 patients were treated in the ER, and 10 percent of those patients had cardiac issues, he said.
Mr. Seidler said Trinity is seeing more psychiatric patients since the state of Illinois cut funding for treatment. The rise in people without healthcare coverage has increased visits to the ER because they often wait too long to get medical care, he said.
He said the ER at Moline's Trinity Hospital does not accept ambulances because they do not have an intensive care unit for critically ill patients. They are routed to Trinity's Rock Island campus for treatment, adding to an already crowded facility.
"We'd like to give the best treatment we can in a state-of-the-art facility," said Mr. Seidler.
The expansion includes 22 outpatient rooms. Once the project is completed, the old ER will be vacated. A use for it hasn't been decided, Mr. Seidler said.
Mr. Seidler said parking issues are unresolved. With the hospital surrounded by a ravine, it makes the addition of an extra parking lot a challenge, he said.
Funding for the project will come from loans from internal reserves and Iowa Health System, Trinity's parent company. A capital campaign to raise money is also underway.
Trinity Regional Health System board chair Pete McLaughlin said the project will create jobs by employing local engineering, architectural, interior design and construction companies from the Quad Cities.
Firms working on the project include: Cannon Design, Gere Dismer Architects, Paragon Commercial Interiors, KJWW Engineering, Missman Engineering, Pepper Construction and Russell Construction.
Tom Hepner, an associate with Gere Dismer Architects, said his team has been working on the project for over a year.
"We've got a knockout team," said Mr. Hepner. "So many lives are being touched by this project, it's a big deal for the community."
Trinity expects to have an IMPACT agreement with local labor unions for a project of this scale, said Mr. Seidler.