The University of Alabama at Birmingham will begin temporary and long-term expansions of the UAB Hospital University Emergency Department, as unprecedented demand for emergency medical services continues to grow and exceed capacity.
UAB Hospital has seen 20 percent UED patient volume growth in the last five years and expects more patient volume growth in the next five years.
Temporary expansion renovations began in June 2023 with interior construction allocated to North Pavilion space, which will create nine new exam rooms and temporary waiting room space. In August 2023, UAB Hospital will begin installation of two leased mobile treatment units that will be located outside of UED along 18th Avenue South. The units will provide 16 additional treatment spaces for patient care and are anticipated to begin use in early fall.
The long-term plans for the $73 million expansion of UED will include renovations to the first floor of UAB Hospital’s North Pavilion, turning the adjacent atrium into clinical care space and the construction of a new three-story space in the drop-off drive of North Pavilion. With 66,030 new square feet of construction anticipated, the project will provide 59 new exam rooms and additional imaging capacity for emergency clinical care.
With Gov. Kay Ivey signing into law Alabama’s largest education and General Fund budgets, $50 million in funds has been allocated from the State of Alabama to support the long-term expansion of UED; that expansion has received Stage 1 approval from the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, with additional approvals needed.
Both projects will expand the volume of space available for patient care. Added capacity will also improve wait times, patient satisfaction and staff satisfaction and will allow for new operational models to be developed and implemented.
In addition to addressing current and predicted increases in patient volume, UED expansion will help UAB keep pace with the complexity of care needed; UAB’s status as the only American College of Surgeons-recognized Level I trauma center in the state means it cares for the most sick, critical and vulnerable patients in Alabama.
Pending additional approvals by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, it is anticipated construction on UED long-term expansion will begin in 2024.