By Carl Keith Greene / Staff Writer

The staff at Jellico Community Hospital expects to break ground in January on an expanded emergency department that should be completed by June.

Jason Dunkel, executive director of marketing and business manager, said Wednesday the new emergency area will be designed to move patients as quickly as possible through the department, which will be expanded from 63 square feet to 84 square feet.

The hospital was opened by the city of Jellico in 1969 and was acquired by Adventist Health System in 1984.

The existing emergency department he said, “is old. It served us in the past. Our volumes are to the point that we need higher efficiencies and a fast track.”

He explained that often in the current facility patients who need quick care are not getting it as fast as needed.

Particularly, patients who have minor injuries are often cared for prior to patients who are in need of more immediate care, he explained.

In the new facility there will be one section for mildly ill patients and a second section to treat emergency patients quickly and carefully.

An average of about 40 patients go through the emergency room each day, Dunkel said.

The addition to the emergency department will cost about $2.6 million to finish, and the funds came from a grant, donations and the rest from Adventist Health System.

Dunkel said part of the emergency department will be a fast track. “We need to get patients in and out of the emergency department on a quicker rate than we have in the past.”

The fast track will essentially handle problems such as “upper respiratory infections, the snotty noses, the things that will really clog up your emergency room. The less severe injuries and ailments will go through the fast track.”

And the others will go through the other treatment area.

He explained, “We’ve known for years that our emergency department needed help.”

The hospital of 54 beds has diagnostic and imaging services, wound healing and hyperbaric medicine, an emergency center, pastoral care, laboratory, surgical department, physical therapy, pharmacy, radiology, maternity services, Sunbelt Home Care, intensive care and Care Plus After-Hours Clinic.

The nearest hospitals to Jellico are Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin and Tennova Health Care, LaFollette Medical Center in LaFollette, Tenn.

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