Freestanding emergency room to open in Malbis this month

By Allison Marlow
Posted 10/13/17

The Thomas Hospital Freestanding Emergency Department in Malbis is only the third built in the state, and there are a lot of unknowns – who will come, when and how many?

What administrators …

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Freestanding emergency room to open in Malbis this month

Posted

The Thomas Hospital Freestanding Emergency Department in Malbis is only the third built in the state, and there are a lot of unknowns – who will come, when and how many?

What administrators there know for certain is that the new staff is ready to give patients the best experience possible.

“Our staff is so excited to be on the ground floor of this project,” said Jane Lee, director of Critical Care Services for Thomas Hospital. “We hired a fabulous team and they are excited to make this happen.”

The Greek Orthodox style building and its gorgeous rotunda fulfill a wish made long ago by the Malbis family, who originally owned the land, to have a medical facility built here.

This month, that wish is granted in the form of a 22,000 sq. ft. ER that has every asset found in a hospital ER. Patients seen here can be treated for any ailment including cardiac emergencies, broken bones and even deliver a baby that just can’t wait.

The staff is composed completely of medical professionals with emergency room experience. Combined they provide decades of knowledge.

“I feel like we are getting the best of the best,” Lee said.

The population boom in Baldwin County contributed to the need for the freestanding ER.

“This is one of the most heavily populated places in the state without an emergency room so this fills the gap,” she said.

Increased traffic down the main thoroughfares to Fairhope has also increased the travel time for ambulances to reach the ER there. The freestanding facility in Malbis will allow trauma patients to be seen, and stabilized, faster.

“Time is of the essence,” said Bill Gore, manager of Thomas Hospital Emergency - Malbis.

When they arrive, Lee expects patients to have little to no wait time in triage. Most patients should be sent directly to a room. Those rooms sit in a curved hallway under the building’s rotunda. In the center, there is a nurse’s station where the staff can see every patient in every room.

The facility also features an outpatient imaging center with state-of-the-art CT scanners, digital x-ray technology and the newest ultrasound scanners. Doctors in the region have called daily to see if they can send patients to the center. The technology will be the best available along the Gulf Coast.

“It is exciting to see go from paper to building,” said Kenny Breal,vice president of critical operations. “There were a lot of people involved in the design.”

While patients are cared for, family members will be comfortable too. The waiting area features public bathrooms, televisions and tables that include several ports to charge devices and phones. There is also a vending area and free Wi-Fi service.

Patients who need to be admitted to a hospital will be transported by ambulance, or helicopter in dire emergencies.

In January, the full-service, on-site pharmacy is expected to open so patients can pick up their medication on the way out the door, rather than stop at a pharmacy on the way home.

Currently Thomas Hospital’s ER sees roughly 32,000 patients a year. Officials do not expect that number to drop when the Malbis location opens.

Instead, the free-standing ER may be a better choice for patients who might skip the ER to visit an acute care clinic, or skip care altogether.

“This is going to be great for those parents who have a small child become sick in the middle of the night,” Lee said. “They can be seen quickly, 24/7 without driving a long distance.”