Wesley Medical Center said Tuesday that it will build a $10 million emergency room in Derby starting this fall with plans to open it next summer.
The emergency room will be a free-standing, 11,000-square-foot building on the corner of East 63rd Street South and Rock Road. It will include 11 rooms, imaging capabilities and an on-site lab. Wesley said it plans to hire 10 to 12 new staff members for the facility.
Bill Voloch, president and CEO for Wesley Medical Center, said it wanted to expand to Derby because of its distance from emergency care.
“You don’t want to drive 20 minutes in a car; you want to be as close as you possibly can,” he said.
The project marks Wesley’s fifth emergency room in the Wichita metro area. The others include its main emergency room and pediatric unit at 550 N. Hillside, Galichia Heart Hospital’s Emergency Room at 2610 N. Woodlawn, and Wesley West Emergency Room and Diagnostic Center at 8714 W. 13th St.
The Derby facility will have similar services to the west-side Wesley emergency room, which treats most emergency visits but is not meant for trauma.
Voloch said he anticipates the Derby location will see around 20 patients a day for the first year, but he expects that number to grow to roughly 50 a day after a few years. He said the wait time goal for the Derby emergency room is an average of 10 minutes.
The Wesley administrative team, Voloch said, started talking about the project five years ago, but the plans have started to take shape over the past two years. He said Wesley’s parent company, Hospital Corporation of America, approved funding for the Derby project last week.
He said Wesley got a contract to buy the land in the past 30 days and he expects to close on the property in the next 60 days.
Sedgwick County Emergency Medical Services has a post at Derby Fire Station 2. The station is about a mile south of the new emergency room on Rock Road.
Kathy Sexton, Derby city manager, said the city’s commercial development in the past five years increased its need for more community services.
“Derby residents put a high value on being a complete city where they don’t have to drive elsewhere for key services,” Sexton said. “This was at the top of our list for things that we would love to have in Derby.”
Right now, Derby residents most commonly visit Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph, about 10 miles away.
Sexton said the new facility won’t benefit just Derby. It would cut travel time for residents in Mulvane, Rose Hill and other surrounding communities who drive to Wichita for emergency services.
Scott Hadley, director of Sedgwick County EMS, said the new emergency room could help improve turnaround times for ambulances. When an ambulance drops a patient off in Wichita and then travels back to Derby, he said, it lengthens the time the ambulance is outside the community.
“We sometimes have to send additional resources down to Derby while that unit is gone,” he said.
He said they would still travel to Wichita for patients in critical condition and would also transfer patients who need more medical attention from the Derby location.
Jeremy Pauly, director of emergency services for Wesley, said in cases like heart attacks or strokes, every passing minute can damage the heart or brain. He said heart attack and stroke patients would likely need to be transferred to a Wichita hospital, but the Derby emergency room could provide stabilization and immediate treatment.