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Dublin hospital expanding emergency department | Community Spirit

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Dublin hospital expanding emergency department

Four rural hospitals across the state in the past two years have shut their doors.

But Monday, Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin announced a $4 million expansion of its emergency department.

"Our waiting times have started growing because we don't have the capacity," said the hospital's CEO, Don Avery.

But the expansion will change that, increasing the 12-patient bed unit to 22, Avery said.

"More spaces we have for patients and that's more people we have to hire to cover those," he said.

It could provide a dozen jobs or more between doctors, nurses and practitioners.

"The emergency department, the hospital, isn't just a day job," Avery said. "That's a 24-hour, 7 day a week commitment. So that's even more jobs than you might expect to see."

He also says the renovated department will have a new pediatric unit and a behavioral health unit.

State representative Bubber Epps says those additions are welcome news in the midst of a rural health care crisis.

"Rural Georgia is just facing a monumental task in providing health care services of the people on an affordability and an ability to pay basis. This hospital sees that," Epps said.

Avery says the expansion is fueled by community need... as those in Dublin and surrounding counties choose Fairview.

The next closest hospital is in Macon, about an hour away.

"Historically, people have left rural communities to get health care in larger towns and that's not happening as much," Avery said. "This hospital has been successful because more and more people are using the services that we provide."

He says the number of patients visiting Fairview's emergency department has jumped from 28,000 in 2009 to 38,000 today.

Construction starts in July and will last about a year.

Avery says the current emergency department will continue to accommodate patients.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh and on Facebook at Anita Oh WMAZ.

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