Loan paves way to Dayton ER overhaul

Dayton General Hospital will pay back the $150,000 loan in five years, the hospital CEO said Tuesday.

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DAYTON -- A roomier, more private emergency room facility at Dayton General Hospital is closer to reality with the formal announcement this week of a low interest loan made available through Columbia Rural Electric Association.

The $150,000 loan will be repaid within five years, hospital CEO Charlie Button said Tuesday afternoon.

The hospital district will pay $75,000 toward the project from Meaningful Use Funds, which is incentive money the district received as a result of implementing an electronic record keeping system.

A call for bids will go out within the next two weeks, Button said.

The current emergency room consists of one room with a curtain to separate beds for two patients. The project will remodel that room, and create two more rooms from the hospital's old operating room.

The three rooms will be quieter and provide privacy for patients, Button said. The project will also include a small waiting room for those accompanying patients.

The emergency room is a Level V Trauma facility, with staff trained to treat emergencies on site as well as stabilize and transfer patients needing a higher level of care. The emergency room averages 120 visits monthly, or about four a day, "but when they come in, sometimes it's four and five at a time," Button said.

Columbia REA uses rural development funds available for projects that benefit local business and community development, according to Columbia REA spokesman Doug Case.

Columbia REA is a member-owned, local electric cooperative that serves customers in Columbia and Walla Walla counties.

Dayton General Hospital is part of Columbia County Health System, which includes clinics in Waitsburg and Dayton, a nursing home, emergency room and acute care.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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