October 10, 2012
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Tribal Councilors and medical staff at W.W. Hastings Hospital celebrate a new and more spacious emergency and urgent care department at Monday's ribbon cutting and open house.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Hastings Hospital opened a larger, more patient-friendly emergency room Wednesday. “Most of our Cherokee citizens have at one time or another had to visit the emergency room and sit in a crowded waiting area,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “We understand a trip to the ER is never pleasant, but we hope by doubling the size of this area and giving our doctors more tools to better serve our patients, our citizens will walk away healthier and happier.”
The new ER is twice as large, with 13 private rooms, each equipped with cardiac heart reading monitors. The unit also has new X-ray stations and a trauma room that can take patients to a CAT scan on the same floor. The emergency room remains on the second level and is now connected to a new urgent care wing. Urgent care was upgraded to feature another 17 rooms for walk-ins with less severe emergency needs.
“These upgrades give our patients more privacy and space, allowing our doctors to see them more quickly and with more equipment,” said Connie Davis, executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services. “This is just part of a $7 million expansion that will bring about many positive new changes for our citizens.” When W.W. Hastings opened in 1984, it was built to serve 65,000 outpatients per year.
The Cherokee Nation assumed control of the hospital from Indian Health Services in October 2008 and now treats 400,000 patients per year. The ER alone handles 40,000 visits per year. “We never waver in our obligation to continue providing 24-hour emergency medical care to all of our citizens. By merging the emergency and urgent care areas, we give our emergency personnel the facilities and tools they need to provide the highest level of care to all of our patients,” said Hastings CEO Brian Hail. “The unit is also quite beautiful, with Cherokee art and designs.”
The ER unit opened Wednesday, and the urgent care wing opens in early November. The entire project is part of an overall $7 million expansion to Hastings that also includes renovations to its labor and delivery and physical therapy wings. Bronze Oak LLC Contractors, a Cherokee business, led the construction project.
Cherokee Nation News Release
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