BREMERTON, Wash. — MultiCare is building a new emergency room in Bremerton slated to open in 2024.
The new facility will fill a "critical need" for more emergency medical services in Kitsap County, according to President of MultiCare's Tacoma General and Allenmore hospitals Mark Robinson.
"Emergency departments across the Puget Sound are often at or near capacity. This new ED will give Kitsap County residents another option for emergency medical care," Robinson said.
Nearby St. Michael's Medical Center in Silverdale, which is the area's primary hospital, has been experiencing staffing issues. In October, a charging nurse called 911 to ask the fire department for help, saying there were 45 patients waiting to be seen and only five nurses working.
Assistant Fire Chief for the Bremerton Fire Department John Payne said the staffing and capacity challenges can pose a problem for residents seeking emergency medical care.
The new emergency medical facility will feature 10 patient rooms, four observation rooms and onsite radiology services, including X-ray, ultrasound and CT scans. The facility will be open 24/7 and staffed by board-certified emergency physicians, according to the healthcare company.
"We have a large homeless community as well and having a medical facility closer to where we are is going to be very beneficial," said Payne.
In the last ten years alone, Kitsap County has grown roughly 9%, with nearly 275,000 people in the county as of last year.
The need is especially high after a winter season where healthcare workers are feeling the strain from an influx of sick patients.
Payne said he hopes the new emergency room makes the local healthcare dynamic more efficient.
"The nursing, the staffing and the beds will allow there to be the turnover that everybody wants where people can get the treatment in a more rapid rate and then get to go back home," said Payne.
MultiCare will break ground on the facility in 2023, with an expected opening date the following year.
The emergency room will be MultiCare's sixth neighborhood emergency department. MultiCare also opened emergency departments in Parkland and Bonney Lake in 2019, in South Hill in 2020 and in Federal Way in 2021. An emergency department in Lacey is scheduled to open in the fall of 2023.
St. Michael told KING 5 they are working to manage appropriate staffing levels to balance capacity systemwide as effectively as they can.