Help Build an Innovative Emergency Department to Better Serve Our Region
Inefficient patient flow. Enormous wait times. Not enough room. To put it plain and simple: this just isn’t working.
But Benefis Health System has a solution – it’s time to build a new Emergency Department and, once again, we need donor support to make it the best it can be for when you or your loved ones face your worst day.
“The Emergency Department is one place we hope we never have to visit,” said Chris Reiquam, Chair of the Benefis Foundation Board and co-chair of the Emergency Department campaign. “But, in reality, the majority of us at one time will need to visit, and when that time comes we want it to be efficient, well-equipped and not overcrowded.”
The current Emergency Department opened in 1998, shortly after the Deaconess and Columbus Hospitals merged to create Benefis Health System. The state-of-the-art department came to be thanks to the generosity of two Great Falls families – Carter and Judy Williams and Keith and Olive Ario – who made the lead gifts to bring the project to life.
When the Williams-Ario Regional Emergency & Trauma Center first opened, the physicians and highly trained nursing staff were delivering exceptional care to around 24,000 patients a year. Our emergency care providers continue to offer exceptional care, but the number of patients has grown to more than 34,000 a year and the department wasn’t built to handle that volume. Still, all patients are accepted regardless of their ability to pay.
Benefis has come up with an innovative solution with a new Emergency Department that will serve our region for decades to come. The Benefis Foundation Board of Directors has committed to raising $2.5 million of the $12.5 million that the new department will cost, and Benefis employees have already stepped up with $400,000 in pledges and gifts.
We are looking to the greater community and region to help us with this important project - your support will make it possible to bring the project to full fruition.
The fact is you or someone you know will eventually need the services provided by the Benefis Emergency Department, and you won't want to have to wait several hours or get stuck in a hallway until a room opens up.
“After touring the department, it came to light that it is a very crowded place,” said Mary Beth Ewen, who is co-chairing the campaign with Chris. “I think a lot of people are not aware that they are seeing 10,000 more patients each year than when the current department was built. They are doing a good job with what they have, but they really need more space and more state of the art equipment.”
The new Emergency Department will incorporate many improvements and innovations, such as:
- A covered entrance canopy to the reception concourse off a new main entrance at the corner of 11th Avenue South and 28th Street South.
- Multiple intake rooms at the front of the department where a physician will be able to rapidly assess patient needs.
- More than 30 patient rooms, all significantly larger than present, including two specially outfitted for pediatric patients and two multi-purpose rooms for exams and procedures. Expanded space will make it possible for family members to be more involved in the care process.
- An enclosed ambulance garage with drive-through access so ambulances no longer will have to back up more than 200 feet to unload patients in sometimes harsh weather conditions.
- Three large Trauma/Resuscitation rooms with direct access from the Mercy Flight helipad and the ambulance garage.
- A two-room behavioral health suite with a separate bathroom and observation anteroom so a patient facing a psychiatric crisis can be cared for in a safe, secure, calming setting.
- A two-room SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Exam) suite, with a separate bathroom and shower; the first room will be a safe, comfortable area for interviews of victims of sexual or domestic abuse and the second will be for medical exams.
- Multiple healthcare team stations for nurses and medical staff with direct line of sight to all the rooms under their care.
- Decontamination areas adjacent to the ambulance garage and trauma rooms that can be completely isolated so a highly contagious patient or patient suffering from a chemical exposure can be treated without forcing the closure of the entire ED.
Click HERE to watch a video about the Emergency Department project.
Please Support the New Emergency Department
You can make a secure gift online by clicking HERE. You also can mail your gift to:
PO Box 7008
Great Falls, MT 59406-7008
For information about opportunities such as naming a room in the new department, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Benefis Foundation office at (406) 455-5840.