Beginning Monday, anyone looking to use the emergency room at Ellis Hospital should show up at the hospital’s Nott Street entrance via the parking garage.
The Rosa Road entrance will be closed during the two-year construction of an expanded emergency department and two-deck parking garage.
Emergency room patients not arriving by ambulance should enter the existing parking garage, where they will find special, ER-designated parking near the main level entrance. Once they enter the hospital, signs and staff will direct traffic to the emergency room.
“It’s really a safety issue,” said Ellis Medicine’s Executive Vice President and COO Paul Milton. “People coming into the ER tend to have a lot of anxiety, and we are trying to remove as much anxiety as we can.”
Several other changes will also go into effect at 8 a.m. Monday. The front door of the hospital at 1101 Nott St., where the overhang is located, will be for ambulance use only. In addition, some employees will begin parking in the Ulster Street lot to make room in the parking garage for ER patients.
And just in case anyone forgets about these changes in a hurried dash to the ER, signage and security staff will be posted at the old and new entrances to clear up any confusion.
Digital signs will be posted on Rosa Road and Nott Street giving advance notice of the change. Staff will occupy a booth set up directly outside the parking garage and near the main level doors, providing directions, maps, special destination cards and other assistance to patients and visitors.
“You can drop someone off and they can transport the patients down to the ER while you park your car, or if you wanted they could even park your car for you if you need to rush in,” said Milton.
Milton didn’t know off the top of his head how many additional staff Ellis has hired to provide directional assistance to patients, but he said it had been worked into the $61 million construction project during the planning phase several years ago.
All patients will be discharged at the ground level parking garage entrance to the hospital, and vehicles will exit the garage on Ulster Street. The Nott Street exit will be for ambulances only.
In addition, all deliveries will be made to the hospital’s receiving area off of Ulster Street.
Construction crews broke ground in October on the expansion, which will be built on the current site of the Rosa Road lot and nearly double the size of the hospital’s current 19,000-square-foot emergency room. It will fit 60 rooms and accommodate 80,000 visits a year, as opposed to the current 47 rooms and 50,000 visits a year at the Nott Street campus.
That area will be cordoned off beginning Monday so that crews can tear down the hospital’s currently unused D wing.
“The whole area will become a construction zone, which is why we have to close it to traffic,” said Milton.
The project is expected to be complete by early 2015. At that point, the emergency room entrance will move back to Rosa Road, where a new parking garage will nearly double the number of spaces to 208.