MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Cullman Regional Hospital is working to bring a new freestanding emergency department to Hartselle. 

Their hope is to give Hartselle (and surrounding area) residents an opportunity to get emergency medical care much quicker, according to Dr. Bill Smith, Chief Medical Officer at Cullman Regional.

In Alabama, hospitals need approval to build or add certain healthcare services. 

Cullman Regional is working to get approval from the Alabama Certificate of Need Board to build the emergency department at Hartselle Health Park. 

Hartselle Health Park is a multi-service outpatient facility opened by the hospital in 2021. In the last year, they’ve seen nearly 14,000 patients through the urgent care clinic, diagnostic imaging center and two physician clinics. 

The new freestanding emergency department means Hartselle residents would not have to leave their community for life-saving emergency services. 

“Since this urgent care opened here a year ago, we have treated over 260 people that had to be transported out to higher level of emergency treatment,” Dr. Smith told News 19. “Having the free-standing emergency department creates the opportunity to address the patient’s immediate need, treat them properly and determine what next level of care they need.”

There are several freestanding emergency departments in Alabama including in the Mobile, Auburn and Birmingham areas. Like hospital-based ERs, freestanding emergency departments operate 24/7 and are staffed with board-certified emergency medicine physicians.

Dr. Smith says the Hartselle Health Park ER will offer on-site imaging including MRI and CT, lab capabilities and pharmacy services. The facility will also be equipped with an ambulance bay and a helipad.

“It’d be just as if you carved out an emergency department from a hospital and moved it to Hartselle and stuck it right here,” said Dr. Smith.

A construction timeline for the new Hartselle Health Park ER will be announced once the application to build is approved by the state. The approval process could take several months.

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