Community Medical Center, part of US-based healthcare group Lifepoint Health, has officially opened its emergency department in Missoula, Montana.

The emergency department is expected to operate 24/7, providing immediate care for both adult and paediatric patients with various illnesses and injuries.

Its development began in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and was subject to supply chain delays.

Lifepoint Health said these delays allowed it to redesign certain aspects to meet current healthcare requirements.

The $14.4m facility includes 20 private rooms, including dedicated behavioural health rooms, spaces sensitive to bariatric patients, and isolation rooms with decontamination areas.

It also has paediatric rooms, trauma bays, a heated ambulance garage and a 911 lounge for first responders.

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Community Medical Center Emergency Department medical director Dr Nancy Trangmoe said: “As an ER doctor for over 20 years at Community, it has been an honour to provide quality, emergent care for people throughout Western Montana.

“Now – we can not only care for more patients, but also provide each patient a private room, a comfortable environment and treatment spaces that recognise the special needs of our patients and our EMS partners.”

The project was first put forward following an evaluation of Western Montana’s population growth and demographic forecast, which recognised the need for an expansion and revamp of the emergency department.

The facility is expected to meet growing demand for healthcare services in Missoula and the surrounding areas, where the population of individuals aged 65 years and older is forecast to increase.

The new paediatric spaces will also cater to the specific needs of children and families.

Community Medical Center CEO Bob Gomes said: “The population throughout Western Montana is changing and we need to ensure we are meeting the healthcare needs of our community.

“Opening a new ER is just one example of how we are working to meet patients’ needs.”