As the Valley’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Banner Ironwood Medical Center has unveiled its newly constructed fourth and fifth floors.
This is the hospital’s first major expansion project since its opening in November 2010. Banner Ironwood Medical Center, 37000 N. Gantzel Road, serves the communities of Queen Creek and San Tan Valley, with some patients coming in from Pinal County.
The new floors add 36 more beds to the current 53 licensed patient beds Banner Ironwood Medical Center already has giving the hospital a total of 89 inpatient beds.
“As the local communities started to grow quickly, we knew that eventually we would have to add more space to the hospital,” said Robert Gardner, CEO of Banner Ironwood. “Luckily, we were well prepared to do that, as Banner Ironwood was constructed to handle these expansion projects when needed.”
The newly constructed floors will be the location for the medical/surgical unit, Women and Infant Services and the Multi-Organizational Service Unit, which serves patients with a variety of illnesses and different treatment needs.
Along with keeping up with increased population in Queen Creek and the San Tan Valley, Banner Ironwood’s new hospital beds could help other hospitals straining under the weight of COVID-19 cases.
“Primarily, it immediately relieves Banner Ironwood to keep up with the growth of Queen Creek and San Tan Valley,” Mr. Gardner said.
Currently, Mr. Gardner said, Banner Ironwood’s clean, non-COVID-19 rooms have been moving into dual occupancy.
“This will allow us to go back to all private rooms,” he said and added that Banner Ironwood is ready help other hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis.
A program developed by Arizona State University makes sure “no one hospital or hospital system has any disproportionate COVID-19-positive patients or even suspected COVID-19 patients,” Gardner said. “In theory, yes, this opens up 36 more beds that could allow for more patients to come here should any other facility experience a surge. We all have to pitch in during these times.”
Mr. Gardner assures the public that it has the expertise and experience to keep the new floors and other areas of the hospital not treating coronavirus patients free of COVID-19.
“Cleaning is much more meticulous and much more regulated in hospitals,” he said. “The good news is we have a lot of subject matter experts at the hospital in infectious diseases. For example, we have nurses whose experience and training is in infectious disease prevention. They know specifically which types of materials and cleaners are utilized depending on what type of patient was in that room.”
The $23 million investment for the additional patient floors started in late 2019 and took about a year to complete. In addition to the new patient rooms, the hospital also completed a new parking lot in front of the hospital, added a new staff elevator and a new computed tomography scan for enhanced patient care.
All this was accomplished while making sure construction workers were COVID-19 free and remained uninfected, Mr. Gardner said.
During the past decade, the hospital has added enhanced services such as pediatric care and robotic surgery, which helped accommodate the demands for specialized care in a rapidly growing area of Pinal County.
“We’re honored that we’ve been able to provide this exceptional level of health care for the last 10 years and we look forward to another decade of serving our local communities.” Mr. Gardner said. “As the area continues to expand, Banner Ironwood will continue to grow with it.”