Published on June 27, 2019

New West Branch Emergency Department Opens July 1

Photo of MidMichigan Medical Center - West Branch Emergency Department entrance.MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch will open the doors to its innovative new Emergency Department (ED) at 7 a.m. on Monday, July 1, 2019.

“While it seems like we’ve been under construction for some time, our new ED took less than one year to build,” said Bob McGrail, president, MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch.  “When you think about all that goes into a 17,505 square-foot building, that timeline is really remarkable. With all-private rooms, a welcoming, patient-friendly atmosphere and doctors who are board-certified in emergency medicine, we are setting the barre in emergency medical care in the region.”

The new Emergency Department at the Medical Center in West Branch features 20 private patient treatment rooms (up from 11), including isolation and behavioral health rooms, trauma rooms and care initiation rooms for lower acuity patients. The new ED also has on-site radiology, a larger ambulance bay for more than one ambulance at a time and a dual pneumatic tube system to improve turnaround times for lab specimens.

Photo of the Emergency Department lobby at MidMichigan Medical Center - West Branch.“We had our patients in mind throughout every step of the design for the new ED. From the moment a patient enters the new department, they will feel more ‘at home’ with design elements like a fireplace, neutral décor, natural light and an inviting reception/check-in area,” said McGrail.

The Medical Center wrestled with the decision to either update the existing ED or build a new one for several years prior to joining MidMichigan Health, according to McGrail. One of the goals was to increase patient treatment rooms to better meet volumes and to provide more privacy for patients.

Photo of the Emergency Department nurses stations at MidMichigan Medical Center - West Branch.“We knew that we needed to update our ED, but as an independent hospital we did not have the capital to do much more than that,” he said. “From our very first talks with the leadership team at MidMichigan Health they were supportive and encouraging to not only update our ED but to expand the footprint to allow for future growth. Because of that support and encouragement we are opening an emergency department that is three times the size of our existing department. This project is another example of MidMichigan Health investing locally in our community.”

“This is an exciting time for the residents of West Branch, the patients served by the Medical Center and MidMichigan Health,” said Diane Postler-Slattery, president and CEO, MidMichigan Health. “This new Emergency Department is testament that by working together, we are able to enhance the services and capabilities at the Medical Center. What’s more, our partnership allows us to strengthen the already high level of service and quality of care those in West Branch and the surrounding area are accustomed to receiving.” 

To ensure project goals were met, MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch engaged Huddy HealthCare Solutions, an ED design expert, to assist designing the advanced ED for West Branch. Huddy has designed more than 300 emergency departments worldwide.

“Huddy is the leader in designing state-of-the-art, functional ED departments,” McGrail added. “It was a privilege to work with them on this project.”

He continued that a multi-disciplinary approach was taken in designing the new ED.

“Representatives from all of our ancillary service lines that provide support and/or care for our ED patients, staff nurses and physicians were involved in the design along with the architects.”

Emergency Department Medical Director Paul Bucchi, M.D., was one of the physicians on the design team and is excited about the new facility.

“My partners and I have personally been part of the design team for this facility from day one to ensure it will be optimal for us to provide the excellent care that is synonymous with MidMichigan Health, Michigan Medicine, and Greater Midland Emergency Physicians (GMEP),” Dr. Bucchi said.

MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch partnered with (GMEP) last July and has seen a steady increase in patient satisfaction. GMEP is a private group of physicians and mid-level providers. They provide emergency medicine for several Medical Centers including MidMichigan Medical Centers in in Alpena, Alma and Mt. Pleasant. GMEP is devoted to excellence in emergency medicine and all of the physicians are board certified in emergency medicine and have undergone residencies focused on emergency care.

“The combination of our new state-of-the-art emergency department and our board-certified emergency medicine physicians is proof of our commitment to improve not only patient care but the patient’s experience in our Emergency Department,” said McGrail.

Those who would like more information about MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch may visit