Reading Hospital to debut $354M expanded ER, trauma center

Wendy Solomon//October 14, 2016

Reading Hospital to debut $354M expanded ER, trauma center

Wendy Solomon//October 14, 2016

The new Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care is a five-story, 476,000-square-foot building adjacent to the hospital in West Reading. The hospital treats 134,000 patients a year in its ER, far more than the 92,000 it was built to handle more than 40 years ago.

“We have been bursting at the seams on a number of occasions,” said Clint Matthews, president and CEO of Reading Health System.

The community is invited to tour the Reading HealthPlex from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and stay for refreshments, entertainment and participate in free health and safety activities.

The new ER will have 16 emergency rooms and five trauma bays that can expand to nine if necessary.

“By expanding with these additional 16 beds, that will help us relieve that pressure,” Matthews said.

Despite the overload, Reading Hospital has been able to make a 25 percent improvement in the time it takes for a patient to be admitted in the ER to 90 minutes, Matthews said.

Matthews said the hospital’s status is expected to be upgraded from a level 2 trauma center to a level 1 because of the expansion and improvements.

The new Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care features:

• 24 larger perioperative and operating rooms.

• Five trauma bays that can expand to nine.

• Eight procedure rooms and a hybrid room that contains imaging equipment for open and noninvasive procedures that can be used simultaneously on the same patient.

• 150 private patient rooms, which will open in January.

• An 88,000-square-foot rooftop healing garden, the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania and the third largest on a health care building in the U.S.

• Telemedicine-enabled operating rooms that enable physicians in other locations to see and talk to surgeons in the operating room via cameras embedded in lights and microphones.

• Three da Vinci robots for surgery.

The HealthPlex greatly expands and modernizes the hospital’s operating suites, which were 350 square feet when built in the late 1960s. The smallest of the 24 new operating rooms is 650 square feet.

“Previously the ORs were designed for a surgeon to use a scalpel, scissors and retractor,” Matthews said.

“Now they have laparoscope equipment, imaging equipment, da Vinci robots, anesthesia equipment and all sorts of pieces of equipment that come into the room. The room becomes very, very crowded with equipment and providers.”

The HealthPlex’s design and layout is much more efficient, which also helps improve the room turnover time, he said.

“We have progressed to the point where we do not only a lot of robotic and laparoscopic surgery and more acute types of cases with very high technological capabilities. Now we have a setting that is comparable to the latest and the greatest any of the world’s renowned hospitals,” Matthews said

The three-year construction project is largely finished, with the total cost expected to come in under the projected $354 million, Matthews said.