Newport Hospital celebrates ribbon-cutting for new Emergency Department; dedicated to John and Hope van Beuren

Newport Hospital celebrated the expansion and renovation of its emergency department – and the naming of the unit as the John A. and Hope H. van Beuren Emergency Department – during a ribbon-cutting ceremony today that was attended by more than 100 people, including hospital leaders, community supporters and the philanthropic family whose van Beuren Charitable Foundation has been an extraordinary partner in the project. 

The $12.5 million project, which is nearing completion, is almost doubling the number of treatment rooms from 17 to 29 beds, and increasing the overall footprint to over 20,000sq. ft. with a capacity to server 40,000+ patients annually. The completed project will realize a state of the art, patient inspired environment of care, to best meet the growing and evolving healthcare needs of Newport County. Key innovations include a dedicated Behavioral Health Pod, a dedicated Clinical Decision Unit for observation of patients, Results Lounge, and a tripling of the Triage Space, while ensuring the advancement and excellence of care. The entire Emergency Department expansion, main entrance, lounges and waiting areas, incorporate evidence-based design features, which support and advance excellence in healthcare delivery and the comfort and well-being of patients and their loved ones.  

The last substantial renovation to the Emergency Department took place more than 20 years ago when the capacity of the space was deemed to be about 22,000 patient visits a year. An aging population and growth in tourism have swelled annual patient visits to 33,000 a year. This phenomenal demand sparked a community fundraising campaign that was so successful it allowed the hospital to break ground in the summer of 2018 on a remarkably ambitious overhaul of the unit. It’s estimated that the new space will accommodate more than 40,000 patient visits a year. 

“Today marks a proud day in Newport Hospital’s long-standing history.  Our donors have once again rallied around a significant healthcare initiative. The new Emergency Department provides an innovative healing environment that matches the excellence in care we provide,” said Crista Durand, president of Newport Hospital. “I would like to acknowledge the resiliency of our providers and staff, who have not wavered during a year plus of construction during our busiest season.  This is a testament to their talents and commitment to our community.”

The project benefitted from the extraordinary generosity of the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, through a $3M grant, and led to the unit being named after long-time hospital philanthropists John A. and Hope H. van Beuren. 

Archbold D. van Beuren, chair of the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, said, “Our mission is to invest in the quality of life and quality of place of Aquidneck Island and surrounding communities. Our family’s legacy of engagement with Newport Hospital flows from the clear connection between the hospital’s mission and our own. The improved Emergency Department is responsive to Aquidneck Island’s current healthcare needs and designed to adapt to future needs.  It’s our pleasure to join the exceptional community of contributors and dedicated hospital staff that made this facility possible.”

Additional outstanding financial support came from The Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust. A long-time supporter of the hospital, the trust awarded a challenge grant, matching $1.5 million in donations early in the campaign. 

“The Trustees of the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust are delighted to continue their support of the Newport Hospital and its Emergency Department. We congratulate Hope van Beuren, and, our former trustee, the late Archie van Beuren, on the well-deserved recognition of their generous and important support of the Newport Hospital,” said Donald C. Christ, chair of the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust.”

“Beyond the Building: The Campaign for Newport Hospital’ began with a $10 million ‘’silent phase’’ during which gifts were received from the Newport Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, individuals and organizations. The campaign was later opened up to the broader Newport County community, whose strong connection to Newport Hospital was evident in the outpouring of financial support for the 146-year-old community hospital. To date, through the support of nearly 400 donors, the $12.5 million goal has been achieved. The emergency department expansion is being fully funded on philanthropy, a further testament of how close Newport Hospital is to the heart of the community. 

The physical transformation of the department includes a four-bed behavioral health unit, providing patients more privacy and dignity. Visits by patients with addiction and/or mental health issues have increased by 17 percent during the last three years and now represent eight percent of all emergency room visits. Another major improvement is a new “clinical decision unit,” deemed to be a national best practice for patients who need extended treatment and observation but who may not require a costly admission as an inpatient.   

“Because of the generosity and caring of so many, our Emergency Department has doubled its previous capacity, and I could not be prouder to be part of this community. And to every member of the community who donated to this lifesaving and life-changing campaign, thank you for being a part of Newport Hospital’s family,” said Norey Dotterer Cullen, chair of the Newport Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees.