Frankfort Regional Medical opens new emergency department

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By Meaghan Downs

Frankfort Regional Medical Center opened its new emergency department, the first completed phase of the facility’s $8.4 million expansion and renovation project, to incoming patients Tuesday morning.
The emergency department, a 7,000 square feet wing featuring additional private rooms with central cardiac monitor capabilities, a triage center, EMS lounge, new reception area, MRI center and upgrades in technology, is the first phase of a three-phase renovation project scheduled to be completed by May 2013.
Chief Operating Officer Lee Higginbotham said hospital employees, as well as Franklin and Anderson County EMS agencies, were key in designing the department’s private rooms to fit the emergency department’s needs.   
According to Emergency Department Director Karen Wooldridge, the new private rooms will help in increasing the availability of beds for patients.
“Our goal is to do direct bedding so our patients don’t have to wait,” Karen Wooldridge, emergency department director, said. “People don’t have time to wait anymore. Lives are busy.”
Equipment and technological upgrades for the emergency department included a new $1 million 64-slice CT scanner that captures images in the half the time it takes for the department’s other scanner.
 “You can’t believe the images will look that good,” Lead CT technologist Lois Manley said. “Frankfort’s really come a long way.”
In addition to new equipment, the emergency department will also offer an element of transparency, Marketing Director Brad Wands said, with the addition of a large, public monitor that tracks patients and wait time monitors that allow patients to receive texts with their most recent wait time.
Clinical Educator and Trauma Manager Charlotte O’Neal, an Anderson County resident, said the updates on the emergency department wing were especially important for Lawrenceburg residents who need to travel to seek emergency medical care.
“I think it’s good for people to get good healthcare close to home,” O’Neal said. “I would bring my family here and I have brought my family here.”