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Push begins to update Devils Lake hospital ER

June 10, 2017 GMT

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — The emergency room at St. Alexius Devils Lake Hospital is so outdated, that staff sometimes struggles to comply with federal requirements for patient privacy, according to a radiologist.

The ER, built in 1974, is in dire need of an upgrade, both in space and technology, according to hospital President Andy Lankowicz who plans to lead an effort to generate the $1.4 million needed for a remodeling project, according to the Devils Lake Journal (http://bit.ly/2rK2MP5 ).

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Radiologist Dr. Richard Johnson said limited space in the ER means patients and others can often easily overhear private medical conversations, possibly violating the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, that governs patient privacy.

In a time when patient privacy has become even more of a priority, officials say the emergency room at St. Alexius Devils Lake Hospital does not provide the necessary structure to meet those needs.

The first phase of a community fundraiser project is aimed at raising nearly $280,000 for updating the hospital’s physical therapy facility. The second phase of fundraising would target the ER.

“We aren’t asking for any tax revenue. This is all funded through donations and internal capital,” said Lankowicz who will try to convince CHI St. Alexius to help fund the project.

Johnson said the hospital has the credentials and the community support to get it done.

“CHI has something like 70 hospitals all over the country, and this is one of the top ones as far as productivity. So we’re in the black, we’re doing well, we’re solid,” he said.

Lankowicz is hopeful that it will be done within five years.

“This will happen,” he said. “It’s just a matter of how quickly.”

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Information from: Devils Lake Journal, http://www.devilslakejournal.com