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  September 17, 2001

Health Center Plans to Expand Emergency Care

For years, the Health Center's Emergency Department has been a well kept secret.

Not so anymore, as word of its convenience and prompt service has trickled throughout the Farmington Valley. For the past two years, annual patient visits have increased steadily from 17,000 in 1998 to 19,000 in 1999 and 21,000 last year.

To accommodate its growing popularity, the Health Center is planning to expand the Emergency Department, adding additional bays for patient care and expanding the waiting room.

"We're delighted more people are using our Emergency Department, but to accommodate them and provide the kind of service they've come to expect, we have to add to our space and to our staff," says Robert Fuller, chief of emergency medicine.

Early next year, construction will begin to expand the space to handle up to 26,000 patient visits a year.

"Right now, we're planning to add at least eight more bays for patient care, bringing our total to 19," says Jeanne Lattanzio, associate vice president for operations and director of nursing. "We are looking at different ways to configure the space, and the actual number of bays may change as we move along in the design phase.

"We're growing for a lot of good reasons," says Lattanzio. "Probably the most important is our shorter wait time, compared to emergency departments in other area hospitals. We also get a lot of positive feed back on our quality care and the staff's friendly and caring attitude."

Dr. Fuller says all the Emergency Department physicians are board certified and the nurses and other health care providers have considerable experience. "We have made

special efforts to translate their skill and knowledge into excellent service," he says.

The department also now has more referring physicians, with the recent addition of UConn Health Partners in East Hartford, West Hartford and Rocky Hill. And it includes a 24-hour cardiac catheterization laboratory.

"We've worked hard to build a strong working relationship between the ED and the Cath Lab staff," says Lattanzio, "and that translates into a shorter response time for patients."

To get the word out, the Health Center has stepped up efforts to publicize the quality and efficiency of our Emergency Department, especially to residents of the Farmington Valley.

Says Lattanzio, "All our efforts are really paying off."

Kristina Goodnough

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