Tampa General Hospital is expanding healthcare access as the Bay Area grows rapidly.

TGH is opening a freestanding emergency department on W. Kennedy Blvd. It’s the hospital system’s third emergency department, joining one in Brandon and the main hospital’s level-one trauma center.

The 15,000-square-foot emergency department will have full-service access for adults and children.

“Which is going to really complement our level-one trauma center by having more capacity for, sort of lower acuity work,” said John Couris, TGH President & CEO. “So for less severe emergencies, because, you know, a level one trauma center, we take care of the most complicated cases. This allows us to take care of very serious cases, but maybe not right for a level one trauma center, but perfect for a facility like this.”

Couris says the freestanding emergency department has 14 rooms and will not only be able to serve more patients but will bring close to 100 new jobs in healthcare.

Exterior of A clinical room inside TGH's new freestanding emergency room.

Exterior of A clinical room inside TGH’s new freestanding emergency room.

TGH says the facility also has its own ambulance to bring patients to the main hospital if needed.

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Hospital leaders say this adds another much-needed access point for health care in the community, based on the number of cases other TGH emergency departments saw last year.

“We saw over 150,000 cases between those two emergency centers,” Kelly Cullen, TGH Executive VP & COO said. “So there’s definitely a need in the community.”

The need for improved access to healthcare was highlighted throughout the pandemic.

A clinical room inside TGH's new freestanding emergency room.

A clinical room inside TGH’s new freestanding emergency room.

“If you think about the pandemic, I think a lot of people were not addressing their healthcare needs during that time,” Cullen said. “So you’re really seeing people now coming and really starting to take care of themselves.”

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Although this emergency department has been years in the making, Couris says it led TGH to take its plans for the facility to new heights. He says it helped leaders make the emergency department even more innovative in order to be better prepared for the unexpected.

“It made us rethink the design so that this entire ER can flip to negative pressure, which is a really big deal when you’re talking about the transmission of an infectious disease,” Couris said. “You want patients in negative pressure rooms.”

Ambulance outside of TGH's new freestanding emergency room.

Ambulance outside of TGH’s new freestanding emergency room.

This facility adds another spot on the map of TGH’s medical and research district.

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TGH says it’s part of a long-term master facility plan that’s worth $550 million dollars and the largest in the hospital’s history.

“Improved access. Improved quality. Trying to create an environment where not only you’re improving access and quality, but you’re improving the affordability of care is critically important,” Couris said.

TGH sign inside new free standing emergency room.

TGH sign inside new freestanding emergency room.

Hospital staff says this emergency department will open to patients on July 6. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays and weekends.

TGH says it plans to break ground on a 100-bed behavioral health hospital next year.