Newswise — The University of Chicago Medicine has set Jan. 8, 2018, for the opening of its expanded emergency department and May 1, 2018, for the launch of Level 1 adult trauma services, pending approval by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The dates were selected once hospital leaders were able to determine how long it would take for the new adult ED to reach “substantial completion,” an industry term used to signal conclusion of construction. In UChicago Medicine’s case, substantial completion will allow teams to begin setting up equipment, holding dry runs and adding finishing touches, among other activities.

The announcement marks the latest milestone since UChicago Medicine announced plans in December 2015 to increase the community’s access to emergency, trauma and specialty care. That plan, approved by state regulators in May 2016, involves relocating and expanding the adult ED, adding 188 inpatient beds to address capacity constraints, and building a dedicated cancer-treatment facility.

The news comes after Dr. Selwyn O. Roger’s arrival in early January as founding director of UChicago Medicine’s Trauma Center. Other achievements since then:

  • In March, the city’s Emergency Medical Services Region XI trauma directors unanimously endorsed UChicago Medicine’s plans to be a designated Level 1 adult trauma center.
  • Also in March, Debra Allen joined the medical center as clinical director of trauma services. Allen, a registered nurse who helped develop the first regional trauma system in northeast Ohio, is responsible for strategic planning and the administrative, educational and financial management of trauma services.
  • Five of the planned six additional trauma surgeons have been recruited.

A trauma-center designation means a hospital has the facilities, specialized staff, services and equipment needed to care for patients who suffer life-threatening injury from car accidents, major burns, serious falls or gunshot wounds. An ED serves as the primary entry point when trauma victims are brought to the hospital.

UChicago Medicine’s new adult ED, which is 76 percent larger than the present structure housed in Mitchell Hospital, will feature a design that improves workflows and efficiency, allowing the medical center to accommodate the increased patient volumes that come with providing trauma services.


Timeline of UChicago Medicine’s ED and trauma plans

  • December 2015: Plans announced to relocate and expand adult emergency department services, open a Level 1 adult trauma center at the Hyde Park campus, and add beds to accommodate the community’s increased needs.
  • February 2016: State application filed to increase access to emergency, trauma and specialty care.
  • May 2016: State regulators approve application. Construction of the larger adult ED begins.
  • September 2016: Groundbreaking ceremony held for new adult ED, which will house four trauma bays and be the primary entry point for trauma victims.
  • January 2017: Selwyn Rogers recruited as director of the trauma center.
  • March 2017: The city’s Emergency Medical Services Region XI trauma directors endorse UChicago Medicine’s plans to be a Level 1 adult trauma center. Also, Debra Allen recruited as clinical director of trauma services.
  • September 2017: “Substantial completion” in construction of new adult ED.
  • 8, 2018: Relocated and expanded adult emergency department scheduled to open.
  • March-April: Trauma action plan submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health, followed by onsite review.
  • May 1: Level 1 adult trauma services set to begin, pending IDPH approval.


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