Dr. Moneesh Bhow, emergency department medical director, talks about the new ER on May 25, 2017, at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix.

It’s bigger, more sophisticated and more accessible for first responders.

Banner University Medical Center officials also plan to serve patients more quickly at the hospital’s new emergency department building, which is opening next month.

Hospital officials took nurses, doctors and first responders on tours of the new building Thursday.

More beds, more space

The facility, at McDowell Road and 10th Street in Phoenix, is scheduled to open at 6 a.m. June 27 and will hold more than twice as many patients as the old department.

“We’re going to go from 29 licensed beds over there to 63 licensed beds over here,”  said Kimberly Novenski, Banner Health clinical manager. “We can see up to 80 patients with all the spaces we have.”

Increased space is what most Banner Health employees are most happy to see. Medical professionals can see more patients at a time, thus reducing wait times. 

“Currently we see about 65,000 patients a year. This increased capacity will allow us to see around 90,000 patients a year,” said Dr. Moneesh Bhow, medical director of the emergency department.


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The new emergency department has more than 64,000 square feet of new space with over 60 private rooms, as well as specialty rooms to care for patients in the most critical condition, he said.

Novenski said, “We will be staffing for 209 patients a day; we currently staff for 163 patients a day.”

As is the current facility, the new emergency department will be a Level 1 trauma center certified by the American College of Surgeons, Bhow said. 

“Level 1 is the highest level a trauma center can have. They have 24-hour, in-house surgeons available, as well as specialized doctors and surgeons available to provide care,” Bhow said.

The current emergency department has a ramp that first responders need to navigate in order to deliver patients. The new emergency department eliminates that hurdle.

“That ramp going up for access for us was a pain … because you had to go up that second-story ramp, and it was real tight,” said Toqua Enrique, a Phoenix firefighter and paramedic.

A better environment for care

Ultimately, the emergency department is all about the patients, and hospital officials hope the larger facility will drop the time that patients spend waiting for care and provide a better environment for those who need medical attention.

Emergency department  employees voiced their pleasure during the tour.

“Right now, our emergency room is very space-confined, so we have patients waiting longer than we would like to get the care that they need,” said Lauren Kochan, a Quality Nurse at Banner Health.

“We’re hoping to not have very many people waiting in the lobby at all,” she said.

The new emergency department includes new medical equipment in addition to the increased space.

“Now we have the ability to remotely monitor patients’ vital signs on physician stations as well as nursing stations,” Bhow said. 

Kochan said, “We’re getting a new CT scan machine, which is state-of-the-art. Right now our scanner in the old department takes 25 minutes to do a scan. The new scanner will take it down to five minutes.”

Julie Cobos, Banner Health emergency department director, said, “There’s a new medication room with tinted windows, and a brand new medication machine that will allow us to prescribe and dispense medication on-site, instead of making patients go to a pharmacy.” 

Banner Health will start to move patients from the old emergency department to the new emergency department starting on the evening of June 26, to prepare for the opening the next day, Cobos said.


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