Benefis Emergency Department Expansion Project to be Completed in 2018


The Emergency Department (ED) expansion and remodel project underway at Benefis Health System is transforming the existing ED into a cutting-edge trauma center, ready to provide life-saving emergency care when you or your family are in need.

The size of the ED will be nearly doubled through both new construction and remodeling. Once the project is complete, the Benefis ED will be the largest emergency department in the state of Montana at more than 38,000 square feet.


The new ED is being built in three major phases to ensure continuous operations. There will be no interruption to the quality or level of emergency care during any phase of the Benefis ED construction project.

The Benefis ED is always open, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We will continue to serve the more than 34,000 patients who rely on the Benefis ED annually. The entire project is on schedule to be completed at the end of 2018.


The first two phases include new construction and remodeled internal areas.

Features include:

  • New ED Entrance and Waiting Area – The new public entrance is easily identified on the corner of 11th Avenue South and 28th Street South. It features a kid’s play area, new furniture, and a covered drop-off and pick-up area to protect patients from the weather and elements.
  • Rapid Medical Evaluation (RME) Area – Nine new treatment areas, interdisciplinary team workstation, equipment storage area, and more help our teams provide life-saving care quickly and efficiently.
  • Three New Trauma/Resuscitation Bays – Two bays have specialized air-flow to allow for a variety of procedures and operating room set-up. The third trauma bay is equipped with its own decontamination shower.
  • Ambulance Garage – This large drive-through parking structure can fit six ambulances. It is heated to protect patients from the weather when loading and unloading from emergency vehicles. This structure also includes a designated area to conduct mass-decontamination should the need arise.
  • New Helipad –Two new helipad sites—one cement pad and one grass pad—both feature in-ground lighting.
  • Radiology Suite – In addition to our CT scan capabilities, we now have fully digital imaging services, including ultrasound, for accurate and expedited patient care.
  • Mercy Flight Headquarters – Our new, state-of-the-art Mercy Flight dispatch center includes equipment storage, locker rooms, and more to support this Benefis air medical transport program.
  • Behavioral Health Bays—Two self-contained bays for patients facing an acute psychiatric crisis.
  • Two large multi-purpose procedure rooms and the newest cardiac monitoring equipment.

While the new ED may look complete from the outside, there is still major construction taking place inside different sections of the ED. Noise within the ED is unavoidable during this time. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for understanding from patients and visitors as work continues on this monumental project.

PHASE THREE – September through December 2018

The third and final phase of the Benefis ED expansion and remodel project will include:

  • 12 clinical decision unit treatment bays for patients who need further testing, observation, or treatments.
  • New sexual assault exam suite designed specifically to provide dignified and compassionate treatment to patients who have experienced this type of trauma.


The Benefis ED is the region’s only level II trauma center, the highest designation available in the state. Montana’s other level II trauma centers are located in Billings and Missoula. The closest level I trauma center is in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The new ED features an innovative design that allows more efficient, patient-friendly care with shorter wait times.

We used input from staff, providers, patients, and families when creating this design. Full-size mock-up rooms were built prior to construction so clinical teams could test the room designs and make sure they were outfitted to handle any situation.

Increased capacity:

  • 33 rooms in total. 15 rooms were added to the original ED’s 18 rooms
  • All 33 rooms are significantly larger than the original rooms

The new ED features high-tech equipment and the flexibility to accommodate future technological advancements. Some of the cutting-edge equipment includes:

  • Portable cardiac monitors that can move between rooms and used throughout the hospital
  • Bedside-testing equipment to help decrease the length of patients’ ED visits
  • Special ultrasound capabilities to provide instant images for traumatic injuries
  • State-of-the-art trauma equipment to improve care for trauma patients
  • Enhanced workflows to include the newest electronic data storage to provide higher standards in patient safety
  • Implementation of a “tiered medical treatment system” to help expedite care


When the Williams-Ario Regional Emergency and Trauma Center first opened its doors two decades ago in 1998, the ED served approximately 24,000 patients per year. Today, Benefis Health System provides vital emergency care to nearly 34,000 patients each year—working day and night to save lives.

This crucial construction project to expand and update the Benefis ED would not have been possible without our amazing donors. Benefis Foundation donors have funded an incredible $2.5 million of this $12.5 million project.

The generosity and support of our donors is helping to ensure the future of world-class, life-saving emergency care for years to come. Thank you.