New emergency department under construction at Baystate Wing Hospital

$17.2 million project designed to reduce wait times, improve patient space

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – Baystate Wing Hospital is expanding.

“We are one of the smallest emergency departments per patient visit per square foot in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Robert Spence, Chief of Emergency Medicine of Baystate Eastern Region.

The emergency department at Baystate Wing Hospital is about to nearly double in size to 17,800 square feet. A groundbreaking Tuesday morning symbolized the start of construction on the new 17.2 million dollar facility.

“One of the main things this is going to benefit patients with is the wait times. We just didn’t have enough space to bring them in as quickly as we could in the previous facility and that will change. It will also really impact patient privacy,” Dr. Robert Spence told 22News.

Instead of curtained bays, there will be 20 private patient rooms. The space will have separate ambulance and public entryways. There will be a dedicated space for behavioral health patients as well. However, Dr. Spence said a bigger space won’t necessarily mean more jobs.

Together, Baystate Wing Hospital and Baystate Mary Lane Hospital serve more than 15 communities in eastern Hampden and Hampshire Counties, but while Mary Lane serves about 12,500 people each year, Wing serves more than 22,000 patients.

Baystate’s Eastern Region President Michael Moran told 22News this will not impact services at Mary Lane in Ware. “So right now, the Baystate Mary Lane facility is perfectly sized for the patient volume they see and it’s a contemporary facility that is really perfectly designed. We see twice as many people down here in half the square footage, so this is grossly undersized,” Moran said.

As a not-for-profit organization, Baystate Health is holding a community campaign to raise 2.8 million dollars. One million dollars was donated by Country Bank. “We believe that healthy people making healthy communities and healthy communities thrive,” said Country Bank President Paul Scully.

The new emergency department is set to open in September of 2018.

Artist’s rendering of the new emergency department at Baystate Wing Hospital.