BRMC to Start ER Plus

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


Some people may be in and out of Bradford Regional Medical Center's Emergency Department more quickly than they're accustomed to.

Monday, BRMC is starting ER Plus – a program that provides services for people with problems that can't wait until the doctor's office opens in the morning, and is designed to ease the backlog.

Deborah Price, BRMC's Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services explained that they had been watching traffic and volume in the emergency department and noticed that they that got backlogged between 5 and 9 p.m.

Many of those people, she said, would be people who didn't feel well after they got home from school or work, and it was too late to go to a doctor.

"To respond to our community, we needed to do something during that period when we got so busy to try to step up our volume," Price said.

ER Plus will be operating fro 5 to 9 p.m. daily.

ED Nurse Manager Anne Hardy explained that they've also adjusted their staffing levels to make sure they're as caught up as they can be before it gets busy.

ED staff nurse Jessica Hilzinger further explained some of the reasons people would be sent to ER Plus.

She said some people might get home from work and feel so bad they don't think they can wait until the doctor's office opens again.

It's those times, she said, "when you really wish you had somewhere to go, get checked out and get an antibiotic."

She also mentioned that if a child hurts an ankle, knee or arm at sports practice, or playing, a parent might not be sure if it's broken, but would feel better just to get it X-rayed.

People "can relate to a sore throat that won't got away. You're thinking 'I would kiss somebody if they would just (give me something for it)'. A lot of people need peace of mind along with relief of their symptoms," Hilzinger said.

ED Medical Director Dr. Brian Walters explained that the new system will allow them to coordinate care and "make the process less bulky," by seeing more people and caring for them more efficiently.

Walters said the new "streamlined" process can result in a shorter wait time for patients because, rather than moving the patient to different areas for triage, registration, vital signs and other necessary steps, patients move to a designed ER Plus area within the Emergency Department where more is conducted at bedside.

"We (staff) are working in parallel so the process moves more quickly and the patient receives more efficient medical care," he explained.

Price stressed that they "don't want people to think they can come in and ask for ER Plus" because they'll get out faster. The triage staff decides where the patients will go.

People going to the hospital for ER Plus should use BRMC's existing Emergency Department pedestrian entrance at 116 Interstate Parkway.

As for the cost of ER Plus, Price said fewer hours in the hospital doesn't mean less cost.

"Our rates are set according to the reimbursement we expect from our payors," she said, adding that no change is expected in the registration process, or the responsibility of the patient to provide co-pay at the time of service.

Pictured, Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Brian Walters talks about the streamlining process in ER Plus, while Nurse Manager Anne Hardy and RN Jessica Hilzinger listen.

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