FORT SMITH - Mercy Hospital Fort Smith has announced plans for a $162 million expansion of its emergency room and intensive care unit.
Mercy Fort Smith will expand its ER from 29 to 50 rooms and increase ICU capacity from 38 to 64 in a concept that provides better workflow and flexibility. The new Emergency Department will allow for about 25,000 more patient visits per year and include special considerations for infectious disease as well as behavioral health patients. For the convenience of patients, an additional 140 parking spaces will be added to accommodate the expansion, with parking closer to the new ER entrance.
The increase in ICU beds will more than double the number of rooms capable of supporting ventilators. The building automation system is designed to allow for floors or pods to be turned into isolation areas as needed.
The new garage and lower-level emergency department entry will be set up to allow for dealing with a mass casualty event and quick set-up for pandemic response. The ER and main entry proximity will provide separation of non-pandemic from pandemic-related patients without interruption to normal operations, should the need arise.
The project includes a five-room area for behavioral health patients that is completely secured and designed for patient and co-worker safety. Additional plans include a 22-bed observation unit requiring no renovation in the former ICU space and helipad relocation to improve patient transport.
Groundbreaking for the ER/ICU is expected in early 2022, with construction expected to last just over two years. Plans are being developed to minimize the impact to Mercy patients during the construction process.