Wake Forest Baptist Health - Lexington Medical Center Will Expand Emergency Department

April 25, 2012

Wake Forest Baptist Health–Lexington Medical Center will expand its emergency department by 70 percent, investing $1.8 million to improve services for the community.

The number of visits to the emergency department has increased dramatically in the past few years to nearly 35,000 last year. Patient visits increased by 3,000 in the past year alone.

“This is an investment in improving the health of the residents of Davidson County,” said Donny Lambeth, president of Lexington Medical Center. “Our community has pride in this hospital and confidence that we will change to meet the needs of the Lexington area.

“Our emergency department has been operating above capacity for some time, and this plan provides the additional space to meet the needs of the community,” said Lambeth.

When completed, the emergency department will have 26 rooms to treat patients, and the family waiting area will be expanded. The emergency department will have a new eight-bed unit for minor illnesses and injuries, two additional treatment rooms, a new area for behavioral health patients and a new room for patient evaluation.

The expansion totals approximately 5,000 square feet, which will become available when rehabilitation services moves to its new space in the Business Services building. When completed, the emergency department will have more than 12,000 square feet.

In addition, the existing space will receive cosmetic improvements and upgrades in equipment and furnishings. The canopies over the patient and ambulance entrances will be replaced, enhancing the overall appearance.

The additional capacity is expected to reduce waiting times for many patients and enable them to be treated and released or admitted to the hospital quicker. Most hospital patients are admitted through the Emergency Department.

Much of the increase in visits came after physicians from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center began staffing the emergency department in March 2011.

“Our physicians are experts in emergency medicine and stay abreast of advancements in care,” said James W. Hoekstra, M.D., chairman and professor of Emergency Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist. He leads a group of 110 physicians who staff the emergency departments at Wake Forest Baptist, Cone Health and Wilkes Regional Medical Center.

“Lexington Medical Center’s willingness to expand the emergency department demonstrates its commitment to the community,” said Hoekstra. “We want the residents of Davidson County to have the most efficient access to emergency care, specialty care and medical technology. This emergency department expansion allows us to continue to provide that access to care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Funds for the expansion are being supplemented by Lexington Medical Center employees. Their annual campaign this spring raised approximately $40,000, which will be matched by Wake Forest Baptist for a total contribution of $80,000 toward the cost.

“The financial contributions of employees toward our priority projects in the emergency department and rehab services are a wonderful demonstration of their concern for their friends and neighbors in the community,” said Lambeth.

Construction is expected to begin in June and will take approximately eight months.

Media Relations

Jonnie Rohrer: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587