Promise Hospital begins moving in patients today

Published 11:25 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2009

VIDALIA — When the road seems full of ambulances from 1 to 4 p.m. today, it’s not because there has been a massive accident — it’s because Promise Hospital of the Miss-Lou is transporting patients to its new facility.

The hospital officially opened its new, 49,826 square-foot facility in late April after receiving a certificate of occupancy from the state, but had to wait to place patients in the new building until the department of health and hospitals inspected the facility, Promise Hospital of the Miss-Lou Public Liaison Sarah Smith said.

The inspection was Monday, and Promise has 48 hours from the passage of the inspection to move their patients from the old Ferriday facility to the new 40-bed hospital on the Vidalia Riverfront.

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“We are very excited,” Smith said. “Everything went very well, and we passed with flying colors.”

Promise has 19 patients to transport, and will use American Medical Response Ambulance Service to make the move.

Unlike when a hurricane or other emergency demands that patients be moved quickly, AMR has had the leisure of coordinating with Promise to construct a transport schedule that will allow them to complete the task quickly, AMR Operations Manager Tim Houghton said.

“We will be able to do it in three hours time, safely and efficiently without any jeopardy or discomfort to the patients,” Houghton said.

To do that, AMR has scheduled five extra ambulances in addition to the six they would normally deploy on a day-to-day basis, Houghton said.

The five extra ambulances will help with the transport, while the six ambulances normally scheduled will be used to continue 911 and other medical responses.

“For (today’s) move, I have enough staff and personnel that I am not going to run the risk of sacrificing our emergency services,” Houghton said.

“We cannot and will not take away from those trucks.”

This is the first move of this magnitude AMR has done in approximately four years, the last one being a facility in Vicksburg, Houghton said.

Promise Hospital of the Miss-Lou is a long-term acute care facility, which is intended for the treatment of patients whose illnesses or injuries demand a longer than traditional hospital stay.