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$15 million dream come true

Remodeled, expanded emergency department to be showcased at open house next Wednesda

Sunnyside Community Hospital will showcase its remodeled and expanded emergency department at an open house at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, Dec. 12. The event is open to the public.

The expansion and remodeling "Building For The Future" campaign began in 1997, when the hospital hosted community forums, entitled "Health Community 2000". More than 100 people living within a nine-mile radius of the hospital gathered for two days to discuss and brainstorm what the Sunnyside hospital should look like in the new century.

Results of those meetings were that the hospital should have private patient rooms; and that the medical facility should remodel and improve medical/surgical suites. Also discussed was a remodel and isolating the intensive care unit, and building a new family birthing center; as well as remodeling the emergency eepartment for separate immediate care and trauma care cases.

The hospital's board of trustees responded to these suggestions and was able to generate community funding to complete all of the hoped for new construction and remodeling except for the enhanced emergency department.

A revived community campaign was started in 2005 to seek necessary funding for this project and construction started in July of 2006.

The hospital's remodeled "state of the art" emergency department meets newly defined privacy standards with two "trauma care" suites, one dedicated emergency cardiac suite, two ER exam rooms, two dedicated OB/GYN suites, six "immediate care" examining rooms, a negative pressure room and decontamination shower.

What this means to patients is more privacy. Gone are patient care areas separated by curtains. Also, patients will see an improved standard in excellence of care, with the ability to move higher acuity illness/injury patients into the trauma area

Sunnyside Community Hospital's emergency department is staffed by contracted Physicians and Physician's Assistants from EmCare on a 24-hour, seven day per week schedule. Physicians, physician assistants and nurses at the emergency department are trained for trauma care as well as situations from "walk-in immediate care" patients.

"Completion of remodeling Sunnyside Community Hospital emergency department is the realization of a dream come true," said hospital CEO Jon Smiley.

"When this project was discussed in community groups 11 years ago, there was total agreement that an urgent care center and an immediate care center was basic infrastructure vital to the nine-mile radius of the hospital...the area this medical center serves.

"We thank the community for their generous financial support of making this important project a reality. This hospital is a not-for-profit acute care hospital whose mission is to keep the community healthy and safe," Smiley added.

Jim Trull, president of the Sunnyside Community Hospital board of trustees, said he thanks everyone for their support in making the Lower Yakima Valley a safer place to live and work.

"The Board of this hospital is delighted that the final leg of "Building For The Future" has come to fruition," said Trull. "Community input was essential for visioning, and community support, financial and otherwise, was essential for its completion," said.Trull.

Jon Mercer, D.V.M., president of the Sunnyside Community Hospital Foundation, echoed Trull's thoughts.

"It is very humbling and gratifying to realize the community support which this hospital has, especially residents within a nine-mile radius of the hospital," said Mercer.

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