MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) — The city and Hamblen County are one step closer to having a new emergency room, after the Planning Commission voted to approve the design plans for the facility.
Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System is expanding to a second location off of Merchants Greene Boulevard and Veterans Parkway. The new facility will be called Morristown-Hamblen West.
Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney said the commission voted 8-0 to approve the overall aesthetics of the new facility, which is already under construction.
Chesney said the facility, which will have a free-standing emergency room, doctors offices and a diagnostic center, is needed for the growing community.
“We have over 600 new permits that have been pulled from our planning department this year already. A normal year is about 50,” Chesney said.
He said not only will the new medical site be beneficial for the city and county, but also for people in the surrounding counties who travel through Morristown.
“Morristown’s a hub for a large number of counties and they’re a lot of people who drive here from other counties to get medical care and doctors visits,” Chesney said.
People living in Morristown said they are ready for shorter wait times with a second ER.
“I mean, like hours waiting,” Pam, a Morristown resident who did not want to give her last name, said. “We were there the other day, I had to take my granddaughter. I just signed the papers and left. I’m serious. Just totally honest. I signed the paper and left.”
Pam said the current ER department is overwhelmed, and it’ll be good for residents to have a second option for care. Plus, she said, a new facility has other benefits.
“It would help them a lot. It would provide more jobs especially for that field: nurses and doctors and cleaners and just whoever. Plus the construction of it. So there’s a plus,” she said.
Covenant Health is also expanding the Women’s Center at Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System.
Covenant leaders said the project will provide two additional labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms and will enhance comfort, privacy and security for mothers and new babies. Currently, the Women’s Center only has six LDRP rooms, and some of those rooms had to help with the surge of patients during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The expansion will cost about $400,000 and will create eight full LDRP rooms, three additional triage rooms, and a more private entrance to the Women’s Center. Additionally, in a separate project, the nurse call system in the Women’s Center will be upgraded.
Hospital leaders said when the project is complete, one of the new LDRP rooms will be named after Dr. Bill Black, who was an OB/GYN and the former chief of staff at Morristown-Hamblen. Black passed away in February 2021, and leaders said he was beloved by staff and patients.
That construction is expected to start mid-summer.
Construction for Morristown-Hamblen West is expected to be completed sometime in 2022.