A Big Island hospital has received a $500,000 state grant to expand its emergency room serving the mostly rural northern part of the island.
West Hawaii Today reports Gov. David Ige released the funds last week for North Hawaii Community Hospital.
The emergency room is expected to more than double in size to 13 beds from the current six when it opens next year. It will grow from the current 3,300 square feet (300 square meters) to more than 12,000 square feet (1,100 square meters).
Two new rooms will be trauma rooms. The new area will include a centralized nurses' workstation, new ambulance, waiting room and entry for patients and family.
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The 35-bed hospital became a part of The Queen's Health Systems in 2014. It serves more than 30,000 residents and visitors in Waimea, Hawi, Waikoloa and Hamakua.
In fiscal year 2016, the hospital recorded more than 14,000 visits to the emergency room. By 2025, the hospital expects to have more than 17,000 such visits.
The hospital hosted a blessing for the construction site in November. It expects to raise $25 million for the project. An application to the state Health Planning and Development Agency for the expansion said it was on track to meet its fund drive goal.
The application said the new emergency room would boost access to everyone in the area, particularly the elderly, low-income patients, women, those with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities and other underserved groups.