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Innovative Technologies and New Policies Enhance Jackson Hospital's Emergency Department Capabilities

Hospital news | Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Contact: Peter Frohmader

MONTGOMERY, ALA. (Nov. 14, 2007) – Beginning January 1, 2008, emergency service providers may begin transporting patients in need of emergency care to the Jackson Hospital Emergency Room every day, not just every other day, according to Jackson Hospital administration.

“Because of innovations in emergency care, the ‘Emergency Room of the Day’ rotation is no longer the most effective system for meeting Montgomery’s emergency healthcare needs,” says Don Henderson, president and chief executive officer of Jackson Hospital. “Furthermore, ‘Emergency Room of the Day’ is an inaccurate label. Jackson Hospital’s emergency room is open to patients seven days a week, 24 hours a day—as are the other emergency rooms in Montgomery.”

Henderson noted that patients should be triaged and transported to the facility that is best capable of treating their condition. “We will continue to work with EMS providers in the community to ensure the most efficient and effective triage of emergency patients,” added Henderson.

The change in emergency room policy is a continuation of Jackson Hospital’s recent emergency room technological innovations and renovations, including:

• Horizon Emergency Care™ (HEC) Mobile Work Stations—With new HEC mobile workstations, new desktop computers and tablet computers physicians and nurses can now input and access patient information electronically, as well as place orders with other hospital departments, including radiology, laboratory, respiratory and the pharmacy. Using the tablets, physicians are also able to write orders that are then digitized and saved as a document, which increases the speed of service at the point of care.

• CAREPoint™ EMS Workstation—The CAREPoint system enables local first responders to transfer data to the Jackson emergency department from a patient’s home, speeding up care before the patient arrives. Using the CAREPoint system, first responders have the ability to transport 12 lead EKGs from a patient’s home. If a patient is having a heart attack, Jackson emergency staff can see it on the monitor in the emergency department and prepare for action prior to a patient’s arrival.

• New Cardiac Monitors and Rooms—Jackson’s emergency department has grown from eight cardiac-monitored rooms to 16, expanding the hospital’s resources for treating cardiac patients.

• Waiting Room Renovations—In addition to new wall treatments and furniture, Jackson has added a separate pediatric waiting room and family-counseling area to provide a more personalized atmosphere for patients and a better system for responding to the emotional issues involved in life-threatening pediatric and family emergencies.

“The Jackson emergency department is made up of a team of dedicated professionals who thrive on ensuring the best possible care for patients in need of life-saving treatment. We are committed to providing the technology, the people and the policies necessary to continue Jackson’s rich tradition of emergency care in Montgomery and throughout Central Alabama,” Henderson said.

For information about Jackson Hospital’s emergency services, visit www.jackson.org or call 334-293-8805.

About Jackson Hospital

Founded in 1946, Jackson Hospital is a community not-for-profit hospital serving Montgomery and the Alabama River Region. Our comprehensive healthcare services include cardiac, cancer, neurosciences, orthopedics and women’s and children’s care, along with 24-hour emergency services. For more about Jackson Hospital visit www.jackson.org.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Why has Jackson Hospital decided to end its participation in the “Emergency Room of theDay” rotation?

Because of innovations in emergency care, the “Emergency Room of the Day” rotation is no longer the most effective system for meeting Montgomery’s emergency healthcare. Furthermore, “Emergency Room of the Day” is an inaccurate label. Jackson Hospital’s emergency room is open to patients seven days a week, 24 hours a day—as are the other emergency rooms in Montgomery. Instead, patients should be triaged and transported to the facility that is best capable of treating their condition.

Q: Why was the “Emergency Room of the Day” rotation established?

The Emergency Room of the Day was established as a gentlemen’s agreement between hospitaladministrators as a way of sharing the care of emergency patients in Montgomery and the Central Alabama region. However, because the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay, the “Emergency Room of the Day” rotation is no longer necessary to ensure the availability of emergency care.

Q: What does this mean for patients who need emergency care?

If you are in need of emergency care, you may choose the emergency room you would like to visit or the EMS provider will assess your condition and transport you to the facility that is best capable of treating your condition.

Q: How will EMS providers determine where to take patients?

Jackson Hospital will continue to work with EMS providers in the community to ensure the most efficient and effective triage of emergency patients. We have recommended the following guidelines to EMS providers when determining the appropriate facility for patient transport:

1. At the time of an emergency transport, the EMS provider, in conjunction with the appropriate EMS provider protocols, should establish which hospital the patient is to be transferred to, taking the following into consideration:
a. The patient’s current medical condition (based on assessment, the physical exam and vital signs)
b. The patient’s need for specialty/tertiary center (trauma, burn, pediatric or spinal cord injury center)
c. The patient or responsible family member’s requested hospital
d. Transport time to the requested hospital
e. Bed availability status/check status, if applicable
f. Other relevant factors as applicable

2. If transport time is potentially thirty (30) minutes or greater, it may be in thepatient’s best interest to be transported to a closer hospital for initial stabilization and later transferred to the hospital initially requested if appropriate.

3. The patient should be transported to the closest appropriate hospital in the event that the patient is unstable.

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