Lawrence Memorial Hospital plans to open its $430,000 Bob Billings Cardiac Evaluation Center on Monday.
Gene Meyer, president and chief executive of LMH, announced the opening date at a hospital board meeting Wednesday. Meyer said the goal of the center was to give area residents a convenient place to receive cardiac treatment.
"We think there is a significant number of people who ignore chest pain because they think it is indigestion or they just don't want to come to the hospital," Meyer said. "What we're trying to tell people is, don't wait. This isn't anything you want to mess around with."
The four-bed center will be staffed by existing emergency room doctors and 12 nurses trained in cardiac care. Patients enter the center through the emergency department, but the center's treatment areas are away from the noise and activity of the emergency room.
"We really wanted an area that would allow these patients to be in a quieter, calmer environment rather than being in the hustle and bustle of the emergency department," said Janice Early-Weas, director of community relations for LMH.
Joan Harvey, director of the emergency department, also said the separation should make it less intimidating for people to come to the hospital to receive care for chest pain.
"We're really hoping this allows us to do more early intervention with these patients," Harvey said. "The whole thing is we want people to come in and have chest pain examined when they're having the pain, not a couple of days later when they make an appointment with their primary care physician."
The center, though, will work closely with each patient's primary care doctor, Meyer said.
The center was named after the late Bob Billings, a Lawrence developer who was the mastermind behind the Alvamar housing and golf developments in the western part of the city. The LMH Endowment Assn. raised the entire $430,000 needed to build the center at last year's LMH Hearts of Gold Ball.
"We really wanted to do something to honor Bob and sustain his memory," Meyer said.