CROSSVILLE – Cumberland Medical Center (CMC) is planning a $6.3 million renovation and expansion project that could replace the hospital’s “significantly outdated” emergency department (ED).
Officials with Covenant Health, of which CMC is a member following a merger in 2014, filed a certificate of need (CON) application with the Tennessee Heath Services and Development Agency (HSDA) in April. The CON has been added to the consent calendar for HSDA’s next meeting June 24.
The nearly 200-page document outlines the hospital’s plan for a more modern, up-to-date facility. And CMC is not alone: Many hospitals have put an increased focus on their emergency department’s over the years; Covenant says the ED serves as the “front door” for the facility and is a major portal to the hospital’s inpatient and outpatient services. It was ID’d as CMC’s highest priority in a 2014 study by national health care consulting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman.
“We have simply outgrown the area, and our community continues to grow,” Dr. David McKinney, medical director, CMC emergency department, wrote in his letter of support. “With the ongoing high volume of patients, the space has deteriorated aesthetically over the 20 years it has been in service.”
If all goes according to plan, the proposed project would create a new, modern emergency department on the ground floor of the hospital – space that currently houses CMC’s outpatient rehab unit – that will include 17,621 total square feet. The project also involves:
- Renovation of existing space (12,954 square feet);
- Immediate adjacent construction of new space (4,667 square feet) for an expansion that will address short-term and long-term needs;
- A new main entrance canopy;
- A new ambulance canopy;
- And a total of 25 new patient exam/care stations (the current ED has 17 exam/care stations as well as three curtained stretcher bays and four hallway stretchers for overflow)
CMC’s current ED, which is also located on the first floor of the hospital and stands at 11,292 square feet, is “significantly outdated and no longer meets all modern hospital standards, medical staff requirements and evolving community expectations,” the CON says. Recently, ED volumes at CMC have exceeded 35,000 annual visits, or nearly 100 patients a day. The new ED will be able to handle up to 40,000 visits annually, if needed.
Covenant’s conservative estimate for the project’s cost is $6.3 million, which includes contingencies. Covenant Health has “sufficient cash reserves to complete the proposed project,” the application says.
The existing ED will remain fully operational until the proposed project is complete. Once that space is vacated, it will be used “to address other needs of the hospital over time.” That could include the hospital’s outpatient rehab center, cardiac rehab services, Sleep Center, Respiratory Therapy, physician office space or others.
It would be the ED’s first major enhancement at CMC since 1992. Given approval, construction could start in October.