20 ventilator capable beds added to Meritus Medical Center


HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Meritus Health says patients are already being treated in its new care unit, comprised of 20 ventilator capable beds.

“A project like this would typically take more than a year to conceptualize, design and build, but we didn’t have that kind of time,” said Gary Orton, Vice President and Director of Health Care for Gilbane Building Company’s Mid-Atlantic division.

The new South Regional Infection Containment Wing at Meritus Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Meritus Health

The new South Regional Infection Containment Wing was completed in 120 days, on time, and on budget, according to Meritus Health.

“It’s the first of its kind in the region and was completed in record time!” says Maulik Joshi, president and CEO of Meritus Health. “We requested an emergency certificate of need from the state for a permanent facility that could not only support the emergent work during the COVID-19 pandemic, but adapt to the changing, future needs of our community.”

The space is a negative pressure, contained area, that has 20 beds for medical and surgical care. Meritus Health says an energy recovery unit was installed to help conserve energy and make it more “green.”

The interior of a room in the South Regional Infection Containment Wing. Copyright John Cole

Executive Director of Ambulatory Care & Care Redesign, Kristie Carbaugh, highlighted that the negative pressure atmosphere allows for no possible contaminants to neither re-enter the air in the rest of the hospital or in the area surrounding the wing. Carbaugh explains that potentially contaminated air is pulled out of the unit and sent through a HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filter before being released out of the hospital.

Orton says his team followed strict COVID-19 safety precautions to make sure they were safe while creating the new space.

“In a normal, non-pandemic environment, this would have been a challenging building timeline, but with the presence of COVID-19, labor and material procurement produced issues and 90 percent of communications, including punch lists, owner meetings and walk-throughs, had to be done virtually,” says Orton.

Carbaugh emphasized that while Meritus Health is excited for the opening of the new wing, their goal is only use the space as a precautionary measure for the future.

“We are excited to have the infection containment unit because what this has allowed us to do is take the lessons learned from the initial responses to COVID and design a space that can function and support the care that’s needed. We do hope there’s going to come a time where you don’t have to keep functioning as an infection containment unit, but the threat remains that something other than COVID could come in the future and we want to be prepared.”

Kristie Carbaugh, BSN, RN, Executive Director of Ambulatory Care & Care Redesign

Click here to watch a time lapse video of the 120 days of construction.


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