Four-year-old Abigail Widener of Rose City was among the first patients to use the new Emergency Department in West Branch on July 1. She was accompanied by her mother Stephanie (left) and brother Bryce (right.) “I love the look of the new Emergency Department,” Bryce said, “and the people are really nice here, too. When my sister got sick, the nurse came quickly.” 

WEST BRANCH – Doors opened at 7 a.m. on July 1 to welcome patients to the new Emergency Department at MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch. The opening marked the culmination of a year-long project to improve privacy, comfort, patient satisfaction and efficiency of care by adding a new group of physicians and a new facility.

The new Emergency Department is designed to make patients feel “at home” from the moment they walk in the door through elements such as neutral décor, natural light and an inviting reception area. It is three times larger than the previous department to enhance privacy and comfort and to meet the growing needs of the community. It features 20 private treatment rooms including two large trauma rooms, plus isolation rooms for patient safety and on-site imaging for faster diagnosis and treatment.

One of the first patients to benefit from the new larger space was Abigail Widener, age four of Rose City, who came to the Emergency Department with stomach symptoms.

“I was a little scared at first, but the people made me feel better,” said Abigail, who was accompanied by her mother, Stephanie Widener, and brother, Bryce Widener, age 15.

“I love the look of the new Emergency Department,” said Bryce Widener, who compared his experience to previous emergency visits in West Branch. “Having rooms instead of curtains is better for privacy. The floors, the windows, everything is nicer, and the beds are comfy. The people are really nice here, too. When my sister got sick, the nurse came quickly.”

Matt Berger, grandfather of another young patient who was seen on the first day, agrees. Berger’s grandson, Jayden Scott of St. Helen, had sprained his wrist while trying to stop the fall of a heavy trailer gate. As Jayden turned to get out of the way, the gate hit him on the head and knocked him unconscious. Berger rushed him to the emergency room and was pleasantly surprised by the speed and quality of care.

“I liked everything. It was very fast, efficient, a lot nicer here,” said Berger. “They quickly did a CT Scan, X-rays and provided a brace and staples for the wrist. The doctor and nurse were both nice, and I feel they’ve done a good job educating me on [Jayden’s] head injury so we’ll know what to do when we get home. I can’t think of anything they could have done better.”

MidMichigan partners with Greater Midland Emergency Physicians (GMEP), an independent practice that staffs the Emergency Departments in Alpena, Mt. Pleasant and now West Branch with board-certified emergency medicine physicians and other credentialed providers.  

“We chose GMEP because they had already demonstrated high quality care, shorter wait times and higher patient satisfaction in MidMichigan’s other locations,” said Bob McGrail, president of the Medical Center. “We’ve began surveying patients early this year using a new iPad system, and we’re proud to report that 72 percent of patients rated the overall quality of care they received in our Emergency Department as excellent and more than 80 percent rated the quality of the physician care they received in our Emergency Department as excellent. We expect those results will get even stronger with the addition of this beautiful new facility.”

Those who would like more information about the new Emergency Department may visit www.midmichigan.org/wbed. 

MidMichigan Health is a non-profit health system, headquartered in Midland, Michigan, affiliated with Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan. MidMichigan Health covers a 23-county region with medical centers in Midland, Alpena, Alma, Clare, Gladwin, Mt. Pleasant and West Branch. In addition to its Medical Centers, MidMichigan Health also offers both home health care and physician services, and has a strong commitment to medical education. MidMichigan Physicians Group provides urgent care and medical offices in more than 30 specialties and subspecialties including cardiology, hematology/oncology, orthopedics, vascular surgery, family medicine and more. The MidMichigan Health Foundation supports patients and families served by MidMichigan Health by raising funds for equipment, services and programs. Currently, MidMichigan has more than 7,400 employees, volunteers and physicians and provided more than $144 million in community benefits in fiscal year 2018.

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