Wednesday, July 17, 2024

LGMC’s new freestanding ER undergoes construction delay

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Lake Granbury Medical Center is experiencing construction delays on its much-anticipated new freestanding emergency room facility, which was expected to be completed this summer.

According to the Granbury City Council’s agenda report from June 4, the delay is caused by weather and various building components, like delivery supply shortages.

Once the completion date became delayed, the hospital contacted City Manager Chris Coffman about the situation. He advised the hospital to move forward and provide an amendment to the agreement regarding an updated completion date.

City Communications Manager Jeff Newpher told the Hood County News the estimated completion date has now been extended to Oct. 31.

During a regularly scheduled Granbury City Council meeting Tuesday, June 4, the council unanimously authorized Coffman to execute an amendment to the Chapter 380 Development Agreement with the Granbury Hospital Corporation. The agenda report states that both the hospital and Coffman are comfortable with the new proposed dates and proposed amendment.

Lake Granbury Medical Center officially broke ground last October for the freestanding ER facility, which is being built at the corner of U.S. Highway 377 and Fall Creek Highway.

Situated on 13 acres, the $15 million, 10,000 square-foot freestanding emergency facility will house an emergency department staffed 24/7 by emergency medical physicians.

“Our goal is to increase access to emergency care on the northeastern side of Granbury as it grows,” LGMC CEO Curt Junkins told the HCN Oct. 16. “That's probably the number one reason behind it. It's no secret Granbury's growing and that side of town is going to grow faster.”

The building will feature eight exam rooms, including a negative airflow room to contain the spread of airborne infections. There will be a major treatment room, a decontamination room, triage, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging services.

Junkins previously explained the facility is a freestanding ER geographically, as it is not attached to LGMC, but from all other intents and purposes, the facility will be a “virtual hallway” between that location and LGMC.

"That's noteworthy because there are other freestanding ERs that are independent or unaffiliated with hospitals and their services are limited because of that, so our goal is to create that option there,” he previously told the HCN. “Freestanding ERs typically don't keep patients overnight in a bed unless there's a need to be admitted somewhere down to the main hospitals. Most of the time, what (we will) do is, if you walk in and you're having a stroke, for example, or another acute illness, you (will be transferred) from that facility back (to LGMC) where we can treat that patient for more than 24 hours.”

As a department of Lake Granbury Medical Center, the freestanding emergency department will also accept the same insurance plans, including commercial, Medicare and Medicaid, for the convenience of patients.

Junkins previously explained to the HCN that many residents have expressed concern regarding the future of the current emergency room department at LGMC, but he explained LGMC will continue to provide the same services it does today. The freestanding emergency facility, he said, will simply serve as another option for emergency care in the community.

"The intent is that we are adding to the ER capacities,” he previously said. “We have 10 beds here, there'll be eight beds up there. Our intent is to cover the entire support as needed for ER but given the growth in the market, we expect that it'll probably outgrow that.”

According to information provided about the new facility, patients with emergent and potentially life-threatening conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, head injuries, fractures, abdominal pain and respiratory issues will benefit from the freestanding ER’s convenient location and the access it provides to LGMC's critical care services.

“The point is that the rest of Hood County has grown, too,” Junkins previously stated. “You've got growth in Tolar, growth in Pecan, you’ve got growth all over the place. But that northern side, when it grows to that larger capacity, and especially as the county starts pushing 70,000 (residents), you're going to see more and more need — and that's why we want to be first.”