Banner Boswell hospital gearing for emergency room improvements - Your West Valley News: Health

Banner Boswell hospital gearing for emergency room improvements

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Posted: Monday, August 22, 2016 4:00 pm

With a number of other projects now complete, or nearly so, Banner Boswell Memorial Hospital officials have another one for which they want to proceed.

The hospital’s emergency room is in need of updating, according to David Cheney, Boswell chief executive officer. Plans for a renovation are expected to be presented to the Banner Health Board of Directors later this year, he reported during a Sun City Fire District board meeting Aug. 16.

“Our emergency room was originally built to handle about 40,000 people per year,” he said. “We are getting close to 50,000 and we expect it to rise to about 60,000 within the next few years,”

Boswell handled more than 47,000 ER visits annually, and that includes about 1,600 pediatric visits, according to Mr. Cheney.

Jeff Nelson, Banner Health spokesman, said the ER project would have a cost of up to $90 million.

“We hope to bring the project to Banner Health’s board of directors within a year,” he stated in an email. “In other words, we hope to obtain approval for the project by next summer.”

However, Mr. Cheney is confident the project will get approval. Improvements will include reconfiguring and redesigning the emergency area main entrance and waiting room to improve patient flow and privacy, he explained.

Boswell’s emergency room is a Level IV trauma facility, able to handle the least serious traumatic injuries. But staff has the procedures in place to quickly transfer patients to a higher level facility if needed, Mr. Cheney explained. Boswell’s emergency department is pediatric certified, he added.

Other upcoming hospital improvements will be to the operating rooms, a multi-year, $10 million project for modernization. Hospital officials did renovate the heart catheterization labs and added a hybrid operating room to offer more advanced surgeries. Mr. Cheney said one of those procedures is to replace a faulty heart valve. Instead of opening a patient’s chest, using the hybrid OR surgeons can do the work with a catheter through a small groin incision.

Mike LeVault, Youngtown mayor, said at the meeting he had a heart valve replaced the standard way.

“This room could come in handy if I need it redone,” he said.

Mr. Cheney also said he had a bad valve and was looking forward to having it addressed in a hybrid OR rather than the standard way.

Banner officials also opened a free-standing oncology center in September.

“About half of all cancer patients require radiation therapy,” Mr. Cheney explained. “The new location allows them to receive therapy close to home.”

The center provides the same care offered at Banner MD Anderson Cancer centers in Gilbert and Houston, Texas.

Boswell officials also launched this year a robot-assisted surgery program with the addition of an advanced surgical robot. It allows the performance of minimally invasive complex surgeries.

“I was initially skeptical of this, but then I got first-hand experience in a demonstration,” Mr. Cheney said.

He was instructed to, using the device’s control panel and viewscreen, stitch a portion of a cheese wheel. The work looked easy onscreen as the wheel and needle appeared large. But when he was finished and looked at the actual work, he could not even see the needle with the naked eye.

“And I had done the stitching perfectly,” Mr. Cheney said.

Boswell officials recently completed converting some office space into 24 private rooms. Those rooms opened to patients in June.

“I said one of my goals was to have this an all-private room hospital by the time I die,” Mr. Cheney said.

Boswell hospital is the base facility for the Sun City Fire and Medical Department. Mr. Cheney said hospital staff meets monthly with department officials to identify opportunities for improvement.

Banner Boswell Memorial Hospital is licensed for 525 beds. Hospital staff perform nearly 9,000 surgeries per year and 16,800 patients are hospital admitted annually. The hospital has 1,800 employees, including 800 physicians. There are 775 people who also provide volunteer services to the hospital and its patients. Nearly 37,000 Sun City residents received some kind of care at Boswell during 2015, according to Mr. Cheney.

Banner Health has 29 hospitals in seven western states, but the health care company is headquartered in Phoenix. The company employs 48,500 people, with 40,000 of those in Arizona. The company also provides $153 million in charity care annually, according to Mr. Cheney.

Rusty Bradshaw can be reached at 623-445-2725 or Continue the discussion at

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