Trustees approve expansion of Penn State Hershey emergency department

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is in the early phase of a plan to expand and renovate its Emergency Department to continue to effectively meet the health care needs of its community.

The Medical Center commissioned a consultant to develop a detailed expansion and renovation program and feasibility study that was completed in September 2016, and the Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning appointed a design-build team at the meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees today (Feb. 24).

Hershey Medical Center is the only hospital in central Pennsylvania with both an Adult Level I and Pediatric Level I Trauma Center. The Medical Center has seen steadily increased volume of emergency medicine patients since moving the Emergency Department to its current location on campus in 1995—the department currently serves approximately 75,000 patients per year. 

The project is expected to add patient care spaces, an additional resuscitation (medical and trauma) room, EMS staging areas, a general radiology room, an expanded decontamination area, an expanded security center, and other support spaces. The project includes renovation of approximately 6,500 square feet of existing Emergency Department space and the construction of a two-story addition. The first floor of the addition will add approximately 9,900-square-feet to the current 34,000-square-foot Emergency Department footprint. The second floor of the addition will be approximately 8,500 square feet and is planned to accommodate a future operating suite expansion. 

The addition will go in to the north and east of the existing Emergency Department footprint, changing the entrance and patient registration area and repurposing about 50 percent of the space now occupied by the Penn State Cancer Institute Healing Garden.

When complete, the renovation and expansion should increase the overall patient capacity of the Emergency Department, expedite the start of the care process and improve patient and provider flow and departmental efficiency.

A related project to create a dedicated unit for patients being held for observation prior to admitting or discharge is also underway at the Medical Center, on the first floor within the northeast portion of the original adult hospital building. The creation of this dedicated unit will improve the Emergency Department’s patient capacity by utilizing stations for incoming emergent patients rather than those who need to be observed for extended periods.

The project will be built in a space currently occupied by several offices and a small non-invasive vascular imaging suite. These existing spaces and functions will be relocated to other parts of the first floor of the hospital as part of other projects. Once completed, the new unit will provide 12 observation rooms, as well as all required support spaces. 

Construction on the new observation unit is expected to begin in April and be completed by spring 2018.

The final phasing and timing of the Emergency Department renovation and expansion project is to be determined, and the project will likely be completed in at least two phases. Construction could begin by fall 2017.

Last Updated February 24, 2017