Westfield Memorial Hospital unveils new emergency department

Westfield Memorial Hospital unveils new emergency department

RED cookies from the Westfield event.

WESTFIELD — Red was the color of the day Tuesday; tables, balloons, favors and people were sporting the hue — all except the green ribbon that officially opened Westfield Memorial Hospital’s renovated emergency department.

Several hospital officials welcomed the dozens of guests to the new space. Surgeon Dr. Elwell remarked on the changes from a singular emergency room, but the unchanged dedication of the hospital staff and strong bond with the community.

Then with a snip of the ceremonial scissors, the newly renovated emergency department was opened for staff and the community.

The expanded and upgraded emergency department will allow WMH, part of Allegheny Health Network, to better accommodate its patients from Westfield and the surrounding Western New York region, reducing wait times and providing more efficient and effective care in a patient-friendly environment.

Among the investments made in the new facility includes a redesign and expansion of the ED waiting room, the addition of two specialized patient intake chairs, creation of a new ambulance vestibule, four new treatment rooms, one large new trauma room, a physician consult room and new nursing/staff stations. The new department also includes an innovative new Split Flow system that is designed to expedite patient triage and treatment.

OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino Westfield Memorial Hospital leaders and area politicians cut the ribbon on the hospital’s new Emergency room. Front row: Executive Director, WMH Foundation Patricia Gaughan DiPalma, President of SVH/AHN, Dr. Christopher Clark, Immediate Past President WMH Foundation, Rose Van Volkenburg holding the scissors, WMH Chair Helen Baran, WMH Administrator Peter Pascale and NYS Sen. Catharine Young. Back Row: Assemblyman Andy Goodell, County Executive George Borrello, WMH ED Medical Director Dr. Brad Buege, Dr. Russell Elwell, WMH Auxiliary President Marjory Fritz and Chief Operating Officer, AHN, James Benedict.

“In times of an emergency health need, patients and their families deserve the best possible experience and this new facility will more than live up to that standard,” said Cynthia Hundorfean, President and CEO of Allegheny Health Network. “Westfield Memorial and its wonderful caregivers have served the community exceptionally well for many years, and we look forward to the advanced capabilities our new emergency department will afford in helping to carry on that tradition.”

The new emergency department was made possible through the efforts of the Westfield Memorial Hospital Foundation’s RED (Renovate our Emergency Department) Campaign, which began in 2016.

“We’re so excited to be celebrating the opening of this beautiful new emergency department,” said Helen Baran, chair of the WMH Board of Directors. “Today is a day for all of Westfield and its surrounding communities to be proud of with the generosity of so many making this possible. We don’t have a ribbon long enough to include the hundreds of donors who contributed to the project championed by the work of our amazing foundation, including its immediate past president, Rose Van Volkenburg and its executive director, Patricia Gaughan DiPalma.”

State Sen. Catharine Young was on hand Tuesday and recognized Baran as one of the first callers she had after her election in 1999. She recalled her first tour of the hospital and the fight to keep it open.

“We need to have rural health care in New York because if we don’t, people will die. I’m not saying that to be dramatic. … We need quality health care like that provided at Westfield Memorial Hospital,” she said.

OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino Above are several members of the WMH Foundation. Seated from left are Foundation Board Members Dan Smith and Brenda Hayes, PhD. In the second row are Marilyn Hemmer, Kim Underwood, Mary Ann Woleben, Diana Holt, Rose Van Volkenburg, immediate past president. In back are Patricia Gaughan DiPalma, executive director, WMH Foundation, Linda Probst, Bob Rau and Robert Battaglin.

Also on hand to celebrate the opening were Westfield elected officials Mayor Michael VandeVelde and Supervisor Martha Bills, county officials Legislator John Hemmer and Executive George Borrello and state officials Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Young.

Westfield also received a New York State Rural Health Grant of $153,000 for the project, as well as support from Saint Vincent and AHN.

“It is a great privilege to be part of a health system and community that is so dedicated to improving the well-being of everyone who lives and works in this region,” said Peter Pascale, WMH Administrator. “With this new facility, we will significantly enhance the care and outcomes of patients requiring emergency services, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who helped bring it to life.”

The new Westfield ED is just one of a number of investments Allegheny Health Networks is making to improve access to state-of-the-art emergency care in the many communities it serves. Last month the Network broke ground on a new ED at its Jefferson Hospital in the Pittsburgh area and in late 2018 it will open a new ED at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie.

“As with our similar projects in Pittsburgh and Erie, this new emergency department at Westfield Memorial will enable us to better meet the region’s growing emergency health needs now and in the coming decades,” said Christopher Clark, DO, MHA, President of Saint Vincent Hospital. “It is another testament to the very significant commitment that our organization and this community have made to providing outstanding health care close to home.”