New ER coming to area struggling with limited healthcare options

Local News

CHATOM, Ala. (WKRG) – A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday morning in Chatom on a new freestanding emergency room. Healthcare is already limited in Washington County and after a year of seeing patients with COVID-19 this is a welcome addition in the community.

Steve Donald, Washington County Hospital & Nursing Home

“The emergency room handles anywhere from 250 to 350 patients a month. It’s currently a 3 bed facility and it’s my understanding this is going to turn into a 9 bed facility,” said Steve Donald with Washington County Hospital and Nursing Home.

Work has already started on the new facility, where more space has been added to support the critical needs of the area.

“It’s been really tough for us,” said Dr. Megan Carpenter, speaking about the challenges of 2020.

COVID-19 cases have fallen, but with few healthcare options available within a short distance the new emergency room comes at a good time.

“We’ll have areas that are able to handle a ventilator should we need it and more of those critical situations should we need it,” added Dr. Carpenter.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey was part of Tuesday’s ceremony. She tells WKRG News 5 she supports efforts to grow healthcare in rural communities.

“It’s a great day not only for this hospital and this community, but seeing this community pay such good support for their healthcare facility I’m proud to be a part of it and this is the kind of community you like to see thrive,” said Governor Ivey.

A completion date for the new facility hasn’t been announced.

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