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Patients needing intensive care will be able to stay in Selma instead of having to be transferred out of town after the Adventist Health Center-Selma expansion project is completed. In later phases, the hospital’s emergency department will be expanded.

The $13.3 million project was kicked off with an unveiling celebration Dec. 3 in front of the current hospital facility at 1141 Rose Ave.

“I’m so excited because I see the need here in the city of Selma. We have a lot of changes ahead,” said Nina Plata, vice president of patient care services and hospital operations at the facility.

The event marked the beginning of the addition of a six-bed intensive care unit and cardiac lab, as well as upgrades to the emergency and surgery departments. The emergency department will increase in size from eight to 14 beds.

Plata noted its emergency department saw 51,000 patients overall in 2014 and yet still has the fastest service records for the hospital’s system. Of that, 69 percent of the patients were from out of town. Thus, the expansion will serve more than just the city, she said.

“We’re drawing in people. There were 35,000 people that came in from out of town for our services for our ED and our ED is only six beds.”

Layton Construction is the contractor for the work and will begin on the intensive care unit first.

Plata said up to 10 patients have to be transferred to larger medical facilities throughout the Valley each week and the surgery team averages 280 procedures per month. Having an ICU in Selma will keep patients in town and make it more feasible for families to be part of their healing process.

“What’s so sad is their families have to commute to where their loved one is. So that’s going to be an absolute wonderful thing. They’ll have their family members here,” Plata said.

Adventist Health Central California Region President Wayne Ferch said he’s pleased to see the Selma hospital expanding to provide life-saving emergency services.

“Adventist Health is just thrilled to invest in Selma. With all those ER visits, I know the No. 1 thing that’s in the mind of most community members when they think about hospitals is ‘Where am I going to go for emergencies?’ When you have an emergency, you don’t want to have to go a long ways.”

Layton Construction Vice President Chris Jensen said the work is scheduled to be completed by late summer of 2016. Work on the emergency and surgery departments will follow. He estimates the project will provide 120 construction jobs over the course of the project.

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Contact this reporter at lbrown@selmaenterprise.com

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