[caption id="attachment_80492" align="aligncenter" width="500"] A rendering of the expanded Memorial Hospital emergency department.[/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- Patient care in the newly expanded 26-bed emergency department at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital began Monday after health care regulators gave the OK to St. Joseph Health to open the renovated space for patients.

The approvals from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Office of Statewide Planning and Health Development (OSHPD) coincided with the final week of construction.

“After two years of construction, we are excited to fully open this state-of-the-art facility to our community, said Todd Salnas, president in Sonoma County of St. Joseph Health, which owns and operates Santa Rosa Memorial. “It means more personalized, private care for our patients and greater comfort. And the expanded space will help us reduce patients’ wait times.”

Santa Rosa Memorial’s emergency department is the gateway to life-saving services for the most critically ill and injured patients on California’s North Coast. As a designated receiving center for trauma, strokes, heart attacks and other complex, high-risk conditions, the hospital’s average patient acuity exceeds all others in coastal California north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Memorial, the regional Level II trauma center for a 5-county area, saw 1,865 trauma patients during the fiscal year that ended June 30, out of 37,838 total ER visits. Its trauma caseload is expected to top 1,900 in the coming 12 months.

The three-phase, $15 million project that concluded last week broke ground in May 2012 and has garnered $10,778,000 in donor support to expand capacity to serve the community’s most critical health care needs. The 4,228-square-foot expansion has enlarged the pre-existing, 19-bay emergency department by approximately 50 percent to 13,500 square feet which now house 26 fully enclosed, walled-off private rooms.

Wright Contracting served as the project’s general contractor and RBB Architects, Inc., designed the new space.

Features also include:A sunlit, enlarged waiting area with seating for 60 people and a roomier registration/reception area.Additional private space for consultations with patient families.A furnished, outdoor patio and garden – an extension of the waiting area for patients and families.