NSU opens emergency room

Westside Regional Medical Center Outpatient Emergency Department at NSU opened in the University Park Plaza on May 18.

The 12,700 square foot facility is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It includes 16 private treatment rooms, one designated trauma room, a full-service laboratory, a pharmacy, advanced imaging equipment, and emergency transportation for incidents within a five-mile radius.

NSU President George Hanbury said that the emergency room provides numerous benefits for students. These benefits include clinical rotation opportunities for Health Professions Division students, emergency convenience and an open medical facility when NSU clinics are closed.

While the emergency room is a great addition to the NSU community, Hanbury said there’s still plenty of room for expansion.

“The biggest benefit of the emergency room is what’s going to come along later, and that is going to be the hospital,” he said. “That will help to facilitate the construction of a hotel conference center for our students’ use. It’ll be a great area for graduate and undergraduate students.”

Since Fall 2013, NSU has planned and fought to begin construction on a new on-campus hospital, which will be built in the University Park Plaza alongside the emergency room. Hanbury said that once the hospital opens, the emergency room will take the name of the hospital for a more unified presence.

While HPD students are currently able to practice their clinical rotations at the emergency room, the hospital will allow them to spend more time with physicians and get more practice in various specialties. If the hospital is built, it will be the second teaching hospital in Florida—the first is at the University of Florida.

“The hospital is like a small city within itself. It can be a wonderful opportunity for undergraduate and graduate professional students to understand how theory and practice come together,” Hanbury said. “It is my intention and effort to not only build a community hospital, which is what HCA would build first, but to build a major teaching hospital for all of South Florida.”

The hospital was approved by the Agency for Health Care Administration; however, South Broward Hospital District and Cleveland Clinic are aggressively opposed to its construction. Hanbury, along with other NSU representatives, traveled to Tallahassee, FL last week to counter the hospitals’ oppositions in front of an administrative law judge.

The judge will hear arguments for both sides and announce a decision between November and December. If the decision is in opposition for the hospital, Hanbury said that the ruling can be appealed in a circuit court or that HCA can choose to start the process over with a new Certificate of Need.

“HCA has indicated that they will not give up,” Hanbury said. “I hope that he rules in our favor so HCA can go ahead and make the necessary plans to begin construction.”

HCA invested approximately 20 million dollars in the emergency room’s construction.

If the hospital project goes forward, Hanbury said NSU is debating as to whether they will tear down all, or just the southern portion, of University Park Plaza. Hotel conference centers are interested in building a venue alongside the hospital and emergency room and Hanbury said this will be a great opportunity for the community.

No plans for UPP have been finalized. NSU is waiting until the hospital is approved and they get significant interest from a hotel to proceed.

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