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On hand for the ED Annex ribbon-cutting March 7 were (l-r): Alex Esdaile, senior project manager, Facilities Design and Construction; Michael Holmes, executive vice president and chief operating officer; Andrea Palko, operations manager, Emergency Services and Behavioral Health; Christopher Chmura, RN, manager of education and special projects; Keith Churchwell, MD, president; Theresa Cohen, director of ED Advanced Practice Providers Services; Andy Ulrich, MD, interim chair, Emergency Medicine; Mark Sevilla, RN, vice president, Behavioral Health and Emergency Services; Lisa Maciejak, RN, ED patient services manager; Beth Liebhardt, RN, nursing executive director, Emergency Services; Arjun Venkatesh, MD; and Rohit Sangal, MD.

New ED Annex unveiled at March 7 ribbon-cutting

It took less than 90 days to transform what had been the West Pavilion driveway turnaround into a fully operational Emergency Department (ED) Annex to help ease overcrowding at Yale New Haven Hospital’s York Street Campus. On March 7, a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by hospital leadership, physicians, ED staff and other YNHH employees made it official.

“This is really an exciting day for us, and it’s one that’s come sooner than we expected, when you consider that we closed this area down Dec. 17,” said Mark Sevilla, RN, YNHH vice president of Behavioral Health and Emergency Services, who praised senior leadership, Facilities, the ED team and other departments for making the seemingly impossible, possible – in record time. “Less than three months later, we’re standing here in the middle of a beautiful, new 35-bed area.” 

For the next six months, the temporary facility will have the capacity to accommodate an overflow of up to 35 ED patients who present with less-serious illnesses or injuries.

“I am excited to be standing here in this impressive new space,” said YNHH President Keith Churchwell, MD. “As we all know, the demands of the pandemic have been just relentless. We, as a community, were recently hit with another wave of COVID, and our ED was again stretched beyond its limits. Patients once again were boarded in the hallways for extended periods.”

Dr. Churchwell noted that initially, project planners considered a number of ideas to temporarily house ED patients, including putting a tent in a parking lot. 

“As you walk through this area, you’ll see it’s a bit more than that,” he said. “It really speaks to what we can accomplish and need to accomplish as we think about the development of care and care pathways in the 21st Century.” 

The expanded space means a lot to the ED staff as well. 

“I think it will be wonderful to have our Emergency Department patients seen and cared for in non-hallway locations, which before the pandemic and up until now, had become extremely challenging,” said Christopher Chmura, RN, manager of education and special projects. “For me, that’s the win.”