Ascension St. Mary's undergoing $17.6 million ER expansion

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SAGINAW (WJRT) - (10/08/19) - The Emergency Care Center at Ascension St. Mary's Hospital is getting a major makeover.

The level II trauma center is expanding the downtown Saginaw hospital's footprint by 12,600-square feet.

The $17.6 million expansion will increase the number of exam/treatment rooms from 26 from 16.

But Emergency Medicine Medical Director Dr. Steve McLean said it's about more than much-needed space. "It's not just about having bright and shiny and new, it's about being more efficient, it's about taking great care of patients," he said.

Dr. McLean looks forward to a layout that makes more sense for staff and patients.

"The trauma rooms will be right at the front entrance, right where EMS comes in. Two brand new, large full-size trauma bays," Dr. McLean explained.

Those trauma bays, for the most serious emergencies, will nearly double in size.

Regional President Dr. Stephanie Duggan believes no detail was overlooked. "We can integrate the computers right into the wall. We can have the monitors where you take blood pressure and it goes right into your electronic health records so it's seamless," she said.

Last year 21,000 patients came through this Emergency Care Center, with another 24,000 going to the Towne Centre location in Saginaw Township.

Dr. Duggan said patients will notice the upgrade.

"From the patient's perspective, now we can all care for you at the same time. So instead of having the process be in a linear fashion, it's all happening at the same time so your visit will be quicker," Dr. Duggan said.

Dr. Duggan, who got her start in this emergency room back in 1998, returned to the Ascension team in Michigan last year after a few years out of state.

She is emotional about this dream becoming a reality. "To witness what's actually happening, and see the excitement on the staff's faces, see the support from the community coming back, to have this gorgeous day, it's overwhelming awesome," she said.

The project will be done in six phases and is expected to be done in the spring of 2021.

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