BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A UAB medical transport program now has a new home, something leaders believe will help them better serve patients.

UAB Critical Care Transport takes patients with advanced needs from one medical center to another. It was established in 1983 and has served more than 48,000 patients across the U.S. and worldwide. Program director Laura Lee Demmons said the move to new offices marked the culmination of a two-year effort to find a new home.

“This is by far the best facilities that we’ve ever had,” Demmons said. “And I love to be able to do nice things for my very dedicated staff, so it’s meant a lot to me and, in turn, for them.”

The new facility, located inside UAB’s Medical Towers, features a full kitchen with a range and a new refrigerator. There’s also a portable dishwasher, and for the first time, staff will have access to a washer and dryer. Demmons said the many medical professionals who work there – from nurse practitioners and physicians to respiratory therapists and neonatal nurse practitioners – often stay in the facility for several days at a time, so the new amenities help them do their jobs more effectively.

“This is essentially their second home,” Demmons said. “They spend a lot of time here, they also take calls here, so anything we can do to take better care of them, we strongly feel allows them to take better care of our patients.”

They’re also set up to quickly deploy when needed. A room on the ground floor contains everything necessary to go out on a call.

“For the first time, we’re able to have all of our equipment and supplies in one place, so it really helps us get out the door and facilitates us getting everything together to get to our patients,” Demmons said.

The Critical Care Program has been approved for a new mobile ICU, which is essentially a larger version of an ambulance that contains all the critical care equipment needed to transport patients. The new vehicle will be custom made and will expand the program’s fleet to four for the first time.