- Associated Press - Sunday, July 22, 2018

MACON, Ga. (AP) - A medical center in middle Georgia is expanding its emergency room department to serve more than 12,000 patients a year.

The Telegraph of Macon reports the Coliseum Medical Centers completed the expansion this week after more than seven months of remodeling. The $7 million restoration project began in 2017 to improve care at the emergency department.

Much of the money went toward a new helipad in the parking lot for air ambulances carrying patients. The hospital also widened its ambulance canopy, installed a new CT scan imaging system and added five more beds to the emergency room.

“This allows us to provide more services to our community,” said Stephen J. Daugherty, CEO of Coliseum Medical Centers. “It provides a better environment for EMS partners and a better care environment for our patients and staff.”

Last year, the hospital launched a graduate medical education training program in partnership with the Hospital Corporation of America’s South Atlantic Division and Mercer University’s School of Medicine. The program accepted 10 internal medicine and four psychiatry residents in its first year, and 27 more residents joined the program this month.

Robin Parker, vice president of marketing for Coliseum Health System, said the hospital hopes to offer 107 residency positions in multiple specialties by 2020.

“Certainly one of the biggest challenges in Georgia is the availability of physicians in the community,” Daugherty said. “We’re one of the most underserved states, and our contribution to that is our graduate medical education program.”

The emergency room at Coliseum Northside Hospital opened up six more beds as part of an expansion project on July 1.

The emergency department at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, Macon’s other major hospital, served 75,161 patients in fiscal 2017.

“Both of our emergency departments have seen double-digit growth over about the last three or four years,” Daugherty said. “So the timing just worked that we expanded both emergency departments at the same time.”

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