Vidant Beaufort introduces new emergency department

Published 7:56 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

For 60 years, it’s been the center of health care in Beaufort County. Now, Vidant Beaufort Hospital is expanding and introducing the public to its new emergency department at a ribbon cutting and community open house next Thursday.

“We are excited to reveal this amazing facility to our community. I feel certain our community will be pleased with its outcome,” hospital President Harvey Case said in a press release.

The event is slated for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, with the ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m.

The 9,000-square-foot expansion represents the completion of phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 is a 3,500-square-foot renovation of the existing emergency department, expected to be completed in eight months. Both phases will result in the transformation of the current department to a state-of-the-art facility with a new patient entrance facing Highland Drive and featuring 16 patient rooms, including rooms designed for trauma, behavioral health and other specialty care areas, according to the release.

“Last time any major renovation work was done was in the mid-’80s. We have a lot more visits now than we did then — we have about 24,000 visits to our emergency department each year,” said Pam Shadle, Vidant Beaufort’s director of marketing and community outreach and development.

The new department was designed with consideration for suggestions made by the people who are in the emergency department every day — doctors, nurses, other health professionals and patients. Shadle said that collaboration is part of Vidant Health’s mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.

“When this project is complete, Vidant Health will have invested $40 million in Beaufort County,” Shadle said. “That’s a huge commitment to a county of our size. … That $40 million really speaks to the commitment that Vidant Health has to growing health care in our community.”

The emergency department renovation is $17 million of the $40 million, which also includes the multi-specialty clinic built in Belhaven two years ago, as well as cutting-edge technology such as the linear accelerator used during radiation treatments at the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center and the new electronic charting system.