Lehigh Valley Health Network cuts ribbon on new $111M emergency department

Stacy Wescoe//December 7, 2020

Lehigh Valley Health Network cuts ribbon on new $111M emergency department

Stacy Wescoe//December 7, 2020

Lehigh Valley Health Network cut the ribbon today on the new $111 million emergency department at its Cedar Crest Campus in Salisbury Township.

Officials said the new department, which includes an expanded adult ER and new observation and trauma facilities, is now the largest and most advanced in the state.

Giving a virtual tour of the facilities in a Facebook Live stream, Dr. David Burmeister, DO, LVHN’s chair of emergency and hospital medicine, said a great deal of care was given to the patient experience in the new department.

“Everything you need during an emergency is right here,” he said. “This plan has multiple patient-centered additions and efficiencies built into it, including major diagnostic testing, laboratory and trauma enhancements.  Everything for providing acute care for our patients is available within this facility.”

The new ER adds 130,000-square-feet of space to the hospital’s current ER, bringing the total size to almost 160,000 square feet.  The expansion brings the number of care spaces to more than 200. It includes more than 120 adult beds available for emergency care, up from 47 beds.

When the expansion in the Children’s ER is complete there will be 27 children’s beds, more than doubling the 12 beds it currently has.

For patients who need additional care but do not require an inpatient hospital stay, the expansion includes a 35-bed observation unit adjacent to the ER.

Burmeister said keeping such patients in the new observation unit will create efficiencies and eliminate confusion by helping patients understand they’re not being admitted to the hospital.

While said planning and construction of the new facilities began long before the COVID-19 pandemic, it did influence final plans.

Changes made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses include enhanced air circulation so that it’s being circulated out of the building more regularly, along with the addition of multiple negative pressure airflow rooms.

There is also increased space in the waiting room, which allows for greater social distancing.

Pods were also created within the ER. Each pod has 12 rooms. The pods allow staff to divide the space into groups of rooms to help prevent the spread of viruses.

Access to the new ER also has been improved.

New traffic patterns will have ambulances enter the hospital campus off Fish Hatchery Road instead of the patient entrance off Cedar Crest Blvd. In addition, the LVHN–MedEvac helipad is now above the new ambulance entrance with immediate access to the ER and Level 1 Trauma Center.