NEOSHO, Mo. — A local hospital is getting ready for an even healthier new year in 2022 with some big changes to boost patient health.

Freeman Neosho Hospital revamped its emergency department.

The changes are designed to target the fight against COVID-19. But it doesn’t stop there.

“So we’re here today to celebrate the emergency department here at Neosho hospital,” said Freeman Neosho CEO, Renee Denton.

Crucial upgrades start with negative pressure for isolation rooms.

“They really help control the pathogens such as COVID-19 and keeps our patients and staff safe.” said Paula Baker, Freeman President & CEO.

“It’s not just for COVID — it’s for any, any infectious disease. So tuberculosis, the flu, COVID-19; negative pressure rooms assist us in making sure that our air remains clean,” added Denton.

The hospital had been using some portable negative pressure units. The remodel added negative pressure to nearly a dozen rooms in the emergence department, medical surgery, intensive care, and triage. One of the biggest changes is that those areas can now be sterilized much more quickly.

“That was an hour and a half that this room remained without being able to be utilized. So as you can understand, that creates great frustration for those patients waiting to come back to the emergency department to be seen. Since the renovations that time has reduced to 20 minutes,” said Denton.

“Freeman Neosho is the heart of this community. And surrounding communities. We want to ensure that every service we provide here is up to date. It’s safe and it brings the best quality possible to our patients,” said Baker.

The emergency department also now has a new nurses station, as well as changes to storage, work spaces and cabinetry.

The project costs $1.5 million.