COTTONWOOD — On Thursday, Nov. 17, St. Mary’s Health celebrated the construction and opening of its new emergency room department in Cottonwood with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Area EMS crews, the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, the Cottonwood Police Department, members of St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Health board of directors, hospitals’ CEO Lenne Bonner, St. Mary’s COO Steve Frei, and other key staff were on-hand to tour the new addition.

After years of planning, fundraising, and completing numerous projects in the years prior to construction to meet new building codes, including installation of a new sprinkler system, asbestos abatement, electrical improvements, and the relocation and expansion of the lab, the new 3,000-square-foot emergency room is now a reality. Funded in part by St. Mary’s Health Foundation and the communities’ donations, the new emergency room is separate from the main facility and offers increased safety, patient capacity, and privacy. It has three trauma bays, one negative pressure ISO room, a decontamination shower and a new, explosion-proof, med-gas room. It also has a dedicated waiting room and provides easier access for ambulances. While there are some pieces of the overall construction still underway, the ER is already in use and serving patients and staff.

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