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Sacred Heart Emerald Coast Is Expanding

Plans have been unveiled for more growth at Sacred Heart Health Center’s Emerald Coast facility in Miramar Beach.

The $30 million expansion project is aimed at increasing capacity in four service areas: inpatient, maternity, emergency, and pediatric.

Hospital President Roger Hall says they’re looking to expand in-patient capacity by about two dozen beds, covering 20,000 square feet. That also includes beds for their youngest and smallest patients.

“We will have pediatric-sensitive beds so we can look at the needs of the pediatric patients that we take care of for the pediatricians in the marketplace,” said Hall. “We’re able to do that in a high-quality sensitive way. That’s certainly a different objective that we have than what we had ten years ago.”

The hospital consistently operates above 70% occupancy, reaching capacity during the peak inpatient months of November to March. The in-patient expansion will also include renovation and construction of two intensive care rooms, and shell space for future growth on the second floor of the hospital. The hospital will also expand what’s known as “The Family Birth Place” – which handles labor, delivery, and recovery. SHH Emerald Coast delivers about 1,100 babies per year; the most since that department opened in 2007.

The larger nursery will accommodate a level-2 neonatal intensive-care unit, in conjunction with The Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. Add to that a new, state-of-the-art pediatric ambulance that will be stationed at Emerald Coast beginning next year.

“It’s a mobile pediatric ICU (Intensive Care Unit),” Hall said. “With that ambulance also comes the personnel: pediatric-trained nurses that will be able to stabilize the most critical pediatric patient.”

Another area getting a makeover is the Emergency Department. That, says Hall, is consistent with the growth being felt by the Miramar Beach/Walton County area.

Emerald Coast has been working with parent firm Ascension Health for several years on strategic plans to expand services. Formal approval was granted late last month to move ahead with the expansion. President Roger Hall says another six months of planning is on tap, with groundbreaking set for early next year on the two-phase project.

“We’re looking for the emergency department, the medical/surgical beds, the ICUs and the post-partum rooms for the Family Birth Place to all be completed in late 2016,” Hall said. “For the renovation back into the Family Birth Place to be completed at the end of 2017.”

The upcoming series of expansions is the latest for the nearly 12-year-old hospital. Previous work includes an emergency department expansion in 2004; Joint Replacement Program the following year, and a women’s diagnostic center addition in 2007.