By Caitlin Shuda, Stevens Point Journal
STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point celebrated the new freestanding emergency department that will soon open at the Stevens Point Aspirus Clinic.
The new department will open to patients June 20 and is part of a 40,000-square-foot expansion that also includes expanded walk-in services, primary and specialty care and a ground transport service with an ambulance garage and helipad.
The Aspirus Stevens Point Emergency Department is the second freestanding emergency department — that is, an emergency room not connected to a hospital — in the state; the other is Mercy Health in Janesville. Bob Smith, the vice president of Aspirus Stevens Point Clinic said the Stevens Point team visited Mercy Health three years ago and has been in continued contact throughout the building process for the Stevens Point department.
A freestanding department allows the clinic to bring emergency care closer to its patients in the community, Smith said. And Aspirus has its own ambulances and team so patients can be transported to a hospital if needed for additional services.
The emergency department has nine rooms, including two to handle trauma and can serve between 5,000 and 7,000 patients in the first year. That number is expected to increase to between 15,000 and 20,000 patients per year over time, said Smith. The department will also have 24-hour care and will be staffed by board-certified emergency medicine physicians, registered nurses, emergency medical technicians and imaging and lab professionals.
The new facility is expected to create 50 new jobs, including 30 specifically for the Aspirus Stevens Point Emergency Department.
Aspirus staff and community members gathered June 6 at the Aspirus site to celebrate the opening with tours, speeches and a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Speakers shared that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Wisconsin ranks in the top 10 for access to health care coverage, and according to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Wisconsin ranks No. 1 for health care quality in the nation. IBM Watson Health recognized Aspirus as one of the country’s 15 top health systems.
Gov. Scott Walker said the new Aspirus Stevens Point Emergency Department will help attract people and employers to the area, benefiting the whole state.
Matt Heywood, President and CEO of Aspirus speaks during the open house for Aspirus Stevens Point Emergency Department in Stevens Point, Wis., Wednesday, June 6, 2018. Heywood was joined on stage by President and CEO of Miron Construction Dave Voss, left, Gov. Scott Walker, State Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point and Stevens Point Emergency Department Medical Director Michael Miller. (Photo: Tori Schneider/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, Tori Schneider/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
Smith said the facility will help maintain the region's high level of medical care.
"We wish you good health," Smith said. "But if you need care, we're here for you."
The Aspirus Stevens Point Emergency Department is at 5409 Vern Holmes Drive in Stevens Point. For more information, call 715-204-1250 or visit aspirus.org.