HONOLULU (AP) — A nonprofit health center running an area of Honolulu's only emergency room is doubling its occupancy for patients with urgent cases.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Emergency Medical Services Building at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center now will house 16 exam rooms, up from eight, a laboratory and a radiology department, all to be open 24 hours a day, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

The building also contains space for the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine, which is already operating on center grounds.

The building is scheduled to open in June.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige calls the center an innovative healing center, a cornerstone of the community and the "pride of Hawaii."

The design of the new emergency room will increase efficiency and the number of patients treated, said Edward Ho, emergency room manager. A specially equipped triage room will allow nurses, doctors and assistants to more quickly assess patients and either order further diagnostic testing and treatment or patch up the less serious cases and send them home.

Richard Bettini, president and chief executive officer of the Waianae health center, said the organization is evolving to be part of the solution for improving residents' health and to address the rising costs of health care.

The center is the largest employer on the Waianae Coast, with 650 employees, Bettini said.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com