Northside Hospital Gwinnett officially opened its new emergency department in Lawrenceville this past week, but Northside Hospital System officials are saying that is just a sign of the steps it is taking to increase medical care access at the Lawrenceville-based hospital.

The Northside Gwinnett emergency department expansion hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, and officials said it will help meet the demand in what they said is one of the highest volume emergency department facilities in Georgia. The emergency department receives more than 100,000 visits from patients each year. The expansion doubled the emergency department’s size to meet that demand.

But, looking to the future, the hospital system also recently received approval from the Georgia Department of Community Health to build a new 10-story tower that will add 162 inpatient beds to the Lawrenceville hospital’s campus. Northside Gwinnett is also building a five-story, 143,828-square-foot medical office building on the property.

“Northside believes that access to care is of the utmost importance and realized that a county with close to a million residents needed a bigger emergency department footprint,” said Debbie Mitcham, who is the president and CEO of Northside Hospital in Gwinnett and Duluth. “With the completion of this project, emergency room capacity will double, thus increasing the ability to not only take care of more Gwinnett County residents, but take care of them more efficiently.”

Among the planned additional buildings at Northside Gwinnett, the five-story medical office building is already under construction, with the project currently at the site preparation stage. The building is expected to open in 2023, and it will house outpatient imaging, ambulatory surgery and various physician practices.

The facility projects are in addition to new equipment that Northside Hospital system has purchased for Northside Gwinnett and Northside Duluth. Northside is the presenting sponsor for Paint Gwinnett Pink, which is the largest breast cancer 5K in Gwinnett County, on Oct. 23.

Paint Gwinnett Pink will be a virtual event this year, but hospital system officials said it has already raised nearly $900,000. That money will go toward helping pay for the purchase of 3D mammography equipment for the Northside Gwinnett and Northside Duluth Breast Cancer Centers.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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