When the world shut down in March 2020, hospital emergency departments became more essential than ever. While the emergency department (ED) at Ascension St. Vincent’s East has always played a vital community role, the pandemic posed significant challenges. More than two years later, those challenges continue.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic we have seen more patients in our emergency departments, and they are sicker than before,” says Suzannah Campbell, president of Ascension St. Vincent’s East, Ascension St. Vincent’s Blount, and Ascension St. Vincent’s St. Clair. “This is happening in all of Birmingham’s hospitals, forcing EMS providers to take patients to whatever hospital has capacity. It’s getting harder to serve our communities.”
That’s why Ascension St. Vincent’s held a groundbreaking ceremony October 13 for a freestanding emergency department in Trussville, just off Interstate 59. The facility, expected to open in late 2023, will include treatment rooms, diagnostics, a lab, and ED-related pharmacy. A helipad will also be onsite. Campbell says area physicians and first responders are among the effort’s strongest advocates.
“We have nine acres, allowing us room to expand our services as funding allows,” Campbell says. “While emergency departments are expensive, and hospitals across the country are struggling to make ends meet, we are determined to extend our existing Ascension St. Vincent’s East emergency department services by delivering care closer to our patients.”
That determination is fueled by support from Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation. Campbell is counting on donors to help provide the structure and everything else needed, from equipment to furniture.
“Whatever anyone feels led to give, no matter how great or small, we want to offer that opportunity,” Campbell says. “We are dreaming about what this can be, and we would love to share with donors not only our immediate needs, but our future mission.”
That mission includes expanding healthcare access for everyone, including the poor and vulnerable – who have the most difficulty accessing care. “By providing this comprehensive, freestanding ED, donors can help us better serve all people in this community,” Ascension St. Vincent’s President Andy Bell says.
Bell says every contribution is welcomed, including year-end gifts in honor or memory of a loved one. “There are even naming opportunities for those who want to be in on the ground level of helping us place a high-quality facility in this area. There are lots of ways donors can advance this important initiative. It’s going to be a great win for this community.”
Honor a life. Save a life.
There is no better way of honoring a loved one’s life – or a family’s legacy – than to help equip a ministry dedicated to saving lives. Individuals, families, clubs, civic groups, teams, Sunday School classes, and others can contribute, challenging others to follow their lead. To learn more, contact Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation Director of Donor Engagement Jennifer Carter at Jennifer.Carter4@ascension.org or call 205-558-3850.