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Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center Opens New Critical Care Department

February 23, 2021

New Department Marks Completion of 2 ½-Year Project to Expand Hospital’s Emergency and Critical Care Capacity

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is celebrating the opening of a new critical care department that completes the final phase of a $115-million construction project to expand emergency and critical care capacity at the hospital.

Construction for both expansions began nearly two and a half years ago. Keith Altshuler, president and chief administrative officer of Fort Sanders Regional, says the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate.

“Since we announced this project, we’ve seen the closing of a large downtown hospital and the unexpected arrival of a global pandemic,” he said. “In light of these challenges, the expansion projects at Fort Sanders Regional are even more important and give us more opportunities to provide the excellent care we are known for to our patients.”

The new department includes 72 spacious rooms arranged in three intensive care units (ICUs) for cardiovascular, neuro and medical-surgical care. The state-of-the-art patient rooms have eICU capability (telehealth specific to the ICU) and in-room dialysis, which are new features for Fort Sanders Regional critical care units. Patient lift equipment allows nursing staff to mobilize and move patients safely as needed. Nurse workstations are situated between rooms so patients are always in view and can be monitored continuously.

The new critical care rooms have a patient-centric design, with enough space for a patient’s family members to remain comfortably in the room while the nursing staff delivers care. Each room is also equipped with sleeper chairs and couches, and a private bathroom and shower.

“We will officially begin treating patients in this new space on February 20th,” Altshuler said. “We are very pleased to offer new advanced services and a more healing environment for our most critical patients.”

“A critical care unit is an inspiring place to be because of the dedication of the staff, amazing technology and medical expertise” said Jim VanderSteeg, president and CEO of Covenant Health. “As we think about the patients and families who will find healing and hope here, I am grateful to the critical care staff and physicians at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center for all that they do every day to put our patients first and strive for excellence.”

The expansion at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center also included a new emergency department which opened in March 2020, a connector bridge from the Center for Advanced Medicine on Clinch Ave. to Laurel Plaza on Laurel Ave., (where many of the hospital’s ancillary and support departments are located), an extension of the existing Laurel Ave. garage to accommodate more than 250 new parking spaces, a relocated helipad providing quick access to life-saving services and a dedicated elevator tower for access to the helipad, emergency department and new ICU floors.

Altshuler thanked those who have been involved in the process of making the new critical care unit a reality. “The team at Fort Sanders Regional and across Covenant Health dedicated time and effort to this project, all while keeping patient care as the highest priority, particularly during the most heightened times of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The opening of the critical care unit also wraps up a year of remembrance recognizing the 100th anniversary of Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. The hospital’s first patients were admitted on Feb. 23, 1920.

About Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center
Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, a member of Knoxville-based Covenant Health, is a 541-bed regional referral center for neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, oncology, cardiology, obstetrics and rehabilitation medicine. For more information, visit