The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center announced Monday it has completed renovations to its emergency department, creating an early diagnosis program and expanding emergency and urgent care.

“What was really important is that every inch of this has been rebuilt,” said Greg Wilmot, president and CEO of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, as he led a tour of the facility.

Enhancements include a new layout for easier navigation of the space, oxygen hook ups in the 12 patient rooms, vending machines with healthy food options, a behavioral health safe room and more privacy in triage and registration areas.

Other updates fall under the umbrella of early diagnostics, such as a state-of-the-art CT scan machine and point of care ultrasound, which will give patients more opportunities for imaging on site.

“We believe these powerful tools will help mitigate transfer out of our facility … which will actually expedite their care and provide a better experience for them and better clinical outcomes and better satisfaction for our staff here at the health center,” said Dr. Jackie Fantes, chief medical officer at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

Emergency response time and capabilities have been a major concern during the Sumner Tunnel closure, which connects East Boston to the city’s major hospitals. Wilmot said the community health center already provides relief to other local hospitals in the area. According to the center, its emergency department is the fourth busiest in the city, receiving more than 40,000 visits per year.

“We expect that to continue to be the case with the improvements that we've made and the additional capacity and capability that we've created here, we'll be able to do more of that, of relieving those area hospitals,” said Wilmot. “But that's probably the extent of the role that we play here for some of that emergency care. You can stay right here in the community without having to navigate traffic.”

“We're providing more services, more emergency help here on site than we've ever done before,” said state Sen. Lydia Edwards. “And so when the tunnel is closed, this to me is a bright, shining light. And one of the things that we are working on, to make sure we're not just mitigating, but providing permanent changes and services for our population.”

The community health center tracks the demographics of its patients: its numbers show the facility at large cares for more than 100,000 patients annually, 70% of whom are best served in a language other than English. Last year, the facility conducted more than 205,000 interpretations.

The emergency department has been open since 2009 and it's the only community health center in Massachusetts open 24 hours every day of the year. The emergency department continued to operate throughout the renovations and construction which began in November of 2021, and wrapped this January.

The center opened a patient advocate office last November in response to allegations of poor treatment at the facility. It's also moving forward with plans to open a behavioral health urgent care center later this summer.