DANVILLE — For some patients who come to a hospital emergency room, doctors need some time to determine what's wrong.
Provena United Samaritans Medical Center is preparing to build a new unit where those patients can be kept under observation for a while after they come to the emergency room — until it's determined whether they need to be admitted to an inpatient bed or whether they can safely be sent home.
The new Clinical Decision Unit, being built next to the emergency department, is set to open in mid-June, hospital officials said.
Why not just keep these patients in the emergency room longer, or admit them to a hospital bed right away?
Keeping patients in the emergency room for an extended time clogs up the ER, and admitting patients when it might be unnecessary takes up a hospital bed and adds unnecessary costs, says hospital CEO Mike Brown.
With the new unit, "you have an extended stay, but you don't have a room charge," Brown said.
"It's kind of an intermediary step and using the resources more wisely for patients for their care, for their financial benefit," he said.
Someone coming in to the emergency department with chest pain is the No. 1 example of the kind of patient this new unit will serve, because it takes time to run tests on these patients, Brown said.
Patients would typically stay in the Clinical Decision Unit up to about 24 hours, hospital spokeswoman Gretchen Yordy said.
The unit will have about eight care spaces. It will be under construction starting next month, and the cost will run $750,000 to $1 million, Brown said. A $10,000 grant from the Iroquois Federal Foundation is included in the funding.
About one-fourth of the cost is being covered through donations and the rest is being covered by the hospital's parent system, Presence Health, he said.
The new unit will be built in the former Rehab gym space. As part of this project, Rehabilitation Services is being relocated to the lobby level, according to Yordy.