AMES, IA – Mary Greeley Medical Center’s new expanded Emergency Department (ED) will open Tuesday, April 26. The public can view the new space during an open house on Saturday, April 23 from noon to 3 p.m.

The open house will also provide the public a chance to see the hospital’s new main entrance and skywalk.

The Mary Greeley Medical Center Emergency Department currently sees more than 28,000 patients a year. The new department will provide 70 percent more space and increase the number of beds to 23 from 14. The new area was designed with a focus on providing safe, high quality patient care.

“This new space gives us the ability to provide even better care to our patients,” said Dr. Sherri Flugrad, McFarland Clinic Emergency Medicine. “From the layout of the rooms and the equipment each contains, everything has been thought out in terms of providing the best possible experience for our patients. This new unit will play an important role in the ability of our staff to safely and effectively care for every person who walks through the door.”

Nursing stations are throughout the new department, improving the proximity nurses have to patients in ED rooms. Pharmaceutical supplies are stocked to ensure that the medicines needed for specific conditions are near areas where those conditions are most likely to be treated.

New Treatment Areas

New spaces have been created for eye emergencies, ear, nose and throat (ENT) emergencies, pediatric emergencies, and traumas. A family waiting room has also been designed near the trauma rooms to keep families close to their loved ones.

The ED has a negative air flow room, which is an important patient safety tool. This means that room air is constantly being drawn out and filtered and ventilated outside. This minimizes anything airborne being drafted into other areas of the ED from the room that has a patient who may be contagious. The entire ED can also go into a negative air flow mode. This could be used during an epidemic, such as pandemic flu, when the ED is treating multiple patients suffering from a contagious illness. 

One of the significant features of the expanded ED are rooms designated for Behavioral Health patients. Mary Greeley Medical Center is one of few facilities in central Iowa with a Behavioral Health inpatient unit. The unit is often at capacity, which results in patients being held in the ED for periods of time until a bed becomes available either at Mary Greeley or another facility.

“These rooms incorporate strategies to provide safety for patients with mental health needs,” said Christy Krause, director of Mary Greeley’s behavioral health unit. “They also provide amenities that will help enhance the patient experience.”

The new Behavioral Health rooms include plexiglass-encased televisions and furniture designed to provide a safe environment. The rooms are also camera-monitored and have a crisis nurse stationed directly outside.


The main entrance to the emergency department will now be located on the south side of Mary Greeley, near the new main entrance. A parking lot is located directly outside the doors, but the lot will be designated for ambulances and emergency vehicles until construction of a new drive-thru ambulance garage is complete. Visitors to the ED may continue to take advantage of valet parking or can self-park in the ramp.

After the new ED opens, the old ED space will be demolished. The drive-thru ambulance garage will be constructed on this site and is expected to be completed in late summer. The work will not disrupt care in the new ED.

To learn more about Mary Greeley Medical Center’s new expanded emergency department, please visit

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