Photo of Madera Community Hospital's emergency department by Breanna Hardy.
Written by Breanna Hardy
Update: Madera Community Hospital’s emergency department reopened at 7:30 a.m. ahead of schedule.
Madera Community Hospital’s emergency department closed Wednesday at midnight and will remain closed until 10 a.m. Thursday for maintenance.
The air handler – which regulates and controls air flow and exchange – is being removed and replaced.
“We’ve been in contact with the rest of the area hospitals, with California Department of Public Health, with the EMS agencies, with the county public health as well as Fresno County Public Health,” Chief Nursing Officer Mark Brown said. EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services and provides ambulance services to Madera Community, among other hospitals.
Brown said that the air handlers are severely impacted by the drastic change in air temperatures, especially in the summer when the handler works harder to cool down the emergency department.
Behavioral health departments at both Madera and Fresno counties have also been updated about the closure.
“We will have a full contingency of emergency department staff that are working even during the closure, just in case, for contingency plans. But we will not be able to provide emergency services,” Brown said.
Emergency Medical Services will have a crew stationed at the hospital in case of emergency.
The California Department of Public Health approved the closure.
The first 12 hours of the department closure will be focused on caring for existing patients in the emergency department. The patients will either be discharged, taken as an inpatient to a different area of the hospital or transferred out. While the change-out itself takes about two hours, the hospital allotted 36 hours for the entire process, including electrical, plumbing and control balancing, and regulating the air afterward.
The closure has been planned for five months and has been no small feat. In addition to the notifications, signage around the hospital that points to the emergency department will be covered in the duration of the closure.
Because of Covid, it took about six months for the manufacturer to get the air handler to the hospital, Brown said.
This is the second air handler change-out Madera Community Hospital has performed.
“We feel confident that this is going to go well,” Brown said.