Date: 7/11/2007

Community Hospital to construct $32 million expansion

MUNSTER — Community Hospital announces it will begin a $32 million expansion of its Munster campus, a project that will double the capacity of the Emergency Department and create a new entrance and lobby for what will become a new patient tower featuring private rooms.

Construction of a new two-story Emergency Department Pavilion and redesigned West Pavilion Entrance will begin Monday, July 30. The project will take 19 months, during which time all hospital services will remain open, including the Emergency Department. The construction will require the closure of the West Pavilion Entrance. Patients and visitors will be directed to use the Main and Outpatient Entrances where valet and wheel chair escort service will be available.

“Community Healthcare System will invest more than $50 million in Community Hospital over the next two years to bring a new level of convenience and comfort to our patients,” said John Gorski, Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations for Community Healthcare System. “This is the busiest hospital in Lake County and the expansion will help us to respond to the growth in demand for our services.”

When the project is completed, the large access ramp to the West Pavilion will be eliminated; patients and visitors will walk in through the ground level to access services in the tower. Beginning in February, 2008 the Community Hospital will begin a $10 million project to convert office space on the fifth and sixth floors into new private rooms. This project is expected to add more than 100 private patient rooms to Community Hospital — 50 in the West Pavilion and 50 semi-private rooms will be converted to private rooms in the hospital’s main patient tower.

“Patients look to Community Hospital for the high quality care it provides, for the expertise of its doctors and staff and its advanced technology,” said Donald P. Fesko, Administrator of Community Hospital. “We also know that our patients want a hospital that can also cater to their needs for privacy, provide accommodations for visitors and be able to deliver care as efficiently and as conveniently as possible. This project and other initiatives underway will not just create a new hospital on the outside, but an even more patient-focused hospital on the inside.”

The new home for the Emergency Department will be the first floor of a 56,000-square-foot, two-story pavilion to be built across the front of the hospital’s West Pavilion. It will feature two new entrances, one for walk-in patients and the other for emergency vehicles and cars. The present Emergency Department has only undergone one minor expansion since it opened in 1979. With 30 new exam rooms, the department will be able to care for double the number of patients now treated there.

The new Emergency Department will have two specialty rooms for trauma and two OB rooms with private bathrooms, along with two x-ray rooms and a dedicated CT scan in the department for quicker assessment of patients. All rooms will be private and built larger to accommodate family visitation. Additionally, there will be a decontamination room in which patients can be cleaned if they have come in contact with such substances as oil, fuel, chemicals, or other hazardous substances.

The second floor of the Emergency Department building will feature 14 pre-admission beds where patients can be cared for comfortably while waiting to be admitted to the main hospital. If the hospital is at capacity, patients waiting to be admitted can remain in the pre-admission area for up to 23 hours continuing to receive treatment. The second floor also will contain mechanical equipment and will be structured so that if future needs arise, four more floors could be added to the building.

“With annual emergency room visits nearly 50,000, the planning and timing of the new Emergency Department couldn’t be more appreciated,” said Michael Macuga, M.D., Medical Director of the Emergency Department. “Hospital administration and the board of directors have always prioritized the needs of the community first. This project will compliment other specialty services and will allow us to continue to provide the highest quality, most efficient Emergency Department that our patients have come to expect.”

It has been nearly 10 years since the hospital has expanded its Munster campus. In May, the hospital began a $5 million expansion to add 25 private rooms to its Family Birthing Center. That expansion will push out the building over a portion of the hospital’s roof top garden along MacArthur Boulevard. The project is expected to be completed by Spring, 2009 and will offer private room accommodations to families through labor and delivery and recovery as well as in the new private-room Post Partum Unit.

Within the past year, an additional $7 million has been invested in new technology at Community Hospital, making it among an elite group of hospitals to pioneer technologies for the detection and treatment of heart disease, cancer and other conditions. These include:

• The da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System used by physicians to perform prostate cancer surgery through tiny incisions, resulting in fewer complications, less blood loss and a quicker recovery. Physicians at Community Hospital are also among the first in the country to use the system for a less invasive option for women undergoing hysterectomies and other procedures.

• The Trilogy Radiation Therapy System in which patients have a broader range of treatment options and the best chance for tumor control with the least damage to nearby healthy tissue. The accuracy of the system allows doctors to treat smaller lesions and tumors that are very close to vital structures.

• The Dual Source CT offering the highest imaging power available to produce the clearest imaging for making a diagnosis in less time and with less radiation exposure for patients. This technology features a completely non-invasive method to diagnose patients at risk for heart attacks, strokes and a variety of other medical conditions.