CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – A multi-million dollar renovation to the Penn Highlands Clearfield emergency department is complete and will allow for more space and better care for patients. The hospital hosted a tour for the media on Thursday, followed by an open house for members of the public to see the completed facility

Penn Highlands officials say the $6 million renovations of the emergency department will vastly improve the care provided here at Penn Highlands Clearfield.

It all starts right out front with the entrance to the ER, which was moved from the ground floor, up to the first floor to allow for easier access. And continues all the way throughout the ER, with more space available and state-of-the-art equipment.

“It’s so deserved for our community and also four of our employees,” said Rhonda Halstead, president of Penn Highlands Clearfield.

The newly renovated ER is expected to start operating within the next 30-45 days, Halstead said. Fully equipped, the ER consists of two triage rooms for more efficient flow, two trauma bays, eight private exam rooms, two behavioral health rooms, a designated OB/GYN room, and an Isolation room for greater safety.

“Our emergency departments are going to be able to stabilize you with top-notch care, and get you to that definitive care should you need it,” said Shaun Sheehan, at Penn Highlands Healthcare.

The more than 12,000 square-foot ER is now double the size of what it used to be and is equipped with over 12 treatment rooms, to serve the over 18,000 annual patients. But this project, a part of the $110 million master facilities plan for Penn Highlands faced some speed bumps along the way, especially with a global pandemic.

“It did create some delays, but I think we’ve done a great job managing that and getting the ed prepared for the community,” Rhonda Halstead said.

Now complete, the project has evolved from its original plan pre-pandemic, as they added in new features to be able to serve patients in a COVID world, like more space to better accommodate needs for isolation.

“We took that into account and wanted to be prepared for that next step so we did incorporate aspects that will allow us to manage a similar situation in the future,” Sheehan said.

The expansion also includes two behavioral health rooms, to allow for increased and separate care for mental health situations that may need extended stays.

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“For long periods of times, sometimes days until there’s an inpatient bed for them. So we wanted to give them the best experience with kind of their own tucked away area,” David Jaslow said, the emergency department medical director at Penn Highlands Clearfield.