Southcoast Health announced Wednesday that it will make a multi-million dollar investment in a state-of-the-art emergency department and private inpatient rooms at Tobey Hospital in Wareham.
“This is a significant investment both in Tobey Hospital and for the greater Wareham community,” said Keith A. Hovan, President & CEO of Southcoast Health. “Tobey is a valuable community resource that provides needed and exceptional clinical care in our region along with hundreds of quality jobs for residents. The expanded emergency department is a further example of Southcoast Health’s unwavering commitment to Wareham and the surrounding region. Similar to our Urgent Care center at Wareham Crossing and our medical office building at Rosebrook, this investment will further provide clinically excellent care.”
The new emergency department will have the capacity to treat 40,000 patients a year. The current emergency department is designed to serve 15,000 patients annually, but had a volume of more than 31,000 patients in 2016. The expanded facility will have in excess of 30 rooms and greatly reduce wait times for patients. And while the number of total hospital beds at Tobey Hospital will remain the same, the additional private rooms will provide an enhanced experience for patients and guests.
“The most common request that we get from patients is the desire to have a private room,” said Renee Clark, COO of Southcoast Hospitals Group. “We know that it can be difficult to share a room when you are not your feeling your best. We are listening to our patients and doing everything we can to create an outstanding experience in all of our hospitals.”
Tobey Hospital, which was on the verge of closing prior to the Southcoast Health merger in 1996, has remained a vital community resource and grown to be a valuable part of the healthcare system. The Southcoast Center for Weight Loss is the highest volume bariatric program in New England, while the Makepeace Maternity Center is recognized nationally as a baby friendly facility that provides a uniquely personal childbirth experience.
“Our emergency department expansion is a tremendous investment in the health of the Greater Wareham community,” said Kerry Mello, Community Benefits Manager for Southcoast Health. “Many Wareham families face significant health challenges and we have collectively worked hard to help address these concerns. Our new facility will support vital and much-needed services. We remain deeply committed to strong collaborations with community partners, as we work together to improve the health of all residents.”
The new addition at Tobey Hospital is funded in part by the Campaign for Southcoast Health — a $25 million capital fundraising campaign, which is the largest in the not-for-profit healthcare system’s history. The campaign is also raising funds for the Stoico/FIRSTFED maternity center at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford and the Harold and Virginia Lash Heart and Vascular Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River.
“The campaign has been a tremendous success thanks to the generosity of so many individuals and businesses across the South Coast region,” said Jack Dresser, Chief Philanthropy Officer at Southcoast Health. “Southcoast Heath is also fortunate to benefit from the generosity of the hospital's namesake, Alice Toney Jones. In her will, she dedicated a significant part of her estate to ensure the health and wellness of the greater Wareham region. This project will continue to fulfill the intentions of her generous contribution to our community.”
“The Tobey Guild is pleased to have committed $250,000 toward this project to improve and expand our emergency department, and we appreciate all those who have participated in our fundraising efforts,” added Tobey Guild President-elect Joan Martin.
In order to provide for this much-needed addition to Tobey Hospital, significant space will be needed. The Tobey Homestead will need to be razed or moved to accommodate for this project. Southcoast Health is committed to working closely with town officials and community members in this process.