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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Hospital emergency department expanding
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             When Paul Theriot, Jr. took over as CEO of East Georgia Regional Medical Center, he stepped into leading one of the most significant facility enhancements since the hospital opened 14 years ago. According to building permits, the renovation and expansion project will exceed $2.5 million.
        Theriot has been in hospital administration for 16 years and has worked for Community Health Systems (CHS), the parent company of East Georgia, for nine years.
        CHS acquired Health Management Associates which owned East Georgia about two years ago.
        "I want our customers to know that it is a new day at EGRMC," Theriot said. "We are working hard to adopt CHS standards which are heavily focused on quality patient care and outcomes. My team and I are working to make the necessary improvements through expansions and renovations of the facility and increasing technology, like implementing an electronic medical records system."
        Based on recent ads run by the hospital in the Statesboro Herald, they also are focused on high quality staff recruitment, offering incentive packages and wages that are very competitive with larger hospitals in the region.
        "As with most hospital emergency departments with our volume, we have significant opportunity to improve the experience of our patients in this area. This is one of our top priorities for 2017," he said.
        Improve they are.
        EGRMC is expanding its emergency department in response to increased need for these services in the growing Statesboro and surrounding communities. The department will grow from 19 to 31 treatment rooms and is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.
        The improvements will reduce wait times, enhance patient satisfaction, better accommodate the growing number of patients and have a more modern appearance. Theriot said all services would continue uninterrupted and every effort would be made to minimize noise and any disruptions while work is underway.
        "As Statesboro has grown, so has the number of people who seek emergency care at our hospital," said Dr. Alan Scott, medical director for the emergency department. "With more space, our medical staff, nurses and other caregivers will be able to see more patients and help reduce their overall visit time."
        To make room for emergency to grow from 9,520 to 14,302 square feet, several departments are moving to new locations.
        The outpatient lab, cardiopulmonary services, the hospital pharmacy and medical records have been relocated to newly renovated areas with updated equipment and furnishings. In the fall, additional renovations will begin to prepare new spaces for same-day surgery and inpatient endoscopy services, which are expected to move in the first quarter of 2017.
        Additionally, the hospital recently opened a new outpatient endoscopy center in the medical office building adjacent to the hospital. By relocating these services to a free-standing location, patients who need the services will have easier access, and hospital resources can remain focused on procedures that require more extensive inpatient care.
        Gastroenterologist Dr. Eli Penn leads the endoscopy center and performs several procedures that are not available anywhere else in South Georgia.
        "As technology improves for gastric procedures, including weight loss measures, more treatments can be completed outside the hospital allowing patients to go home the same day," Dr. Penn said.
        Finally, the hospital continues to seal all external hospital windows for improved patient comfort. Work is expected to be complete in early 2017, weather permitting.
        Signage will be posted throughout the facility to direct and alert patients to changes to the location of services they are seeking.
        "We appreciate the community's patience through this renovation and expansion process," said Theriot. "When completed, this will help us take a huge step forward in providing the level of quality care we desire and the community expects. I understand that if we do the right thing for the patients, everything else in our operation will take care of itself."

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