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SWMC Makes Changes In ER

KSCB News - December 14, 2011 3:46 pm

Southwest Medical Center will be making changes in the Emergency Room-ER. Effective February 1, 2012, EmCare, the nation’s largest physician management company, will begin providing emergency physician services at SWMC.

According to Norm Lambert , SWMC President and CEO, “The ER is the window into the hospital, and we need to provide the best service possible to our patients who utilize this service. Recent surveys have shown we need to improve in this area.”

Two recently completed surveys each suggested that SWMC patients did not score the ER service highly. Healthstreams has performed a telephone survey of actual SWMC ER patients over the last eight months. Within Healthstreams’ 500-hospital database SWMC ranked at the 15th percentile after six months of surveying. Voluntary Hospitals of America (VHA) came to Liberal in August and surveyed approximately 50 citizens ranging from local business leaders, retirees, school teachers, health department personnel and National Beef representatives, and also learned the ER service needed improvement.

EmCare was chosen to provide the physician services because they have a proven track record for good customer service and will save SWMC approximately $300,000 per year over the current arrangement. EmCare currently serves over 500 client hospitals, including many of the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals, and serves over 8 million patient visits per year. SWMC has charged EmCare with the responsibility of recruiting highly qualified doctors for Liberal and providing a high quality service to its patients.

The EmCare organization provides regional medical director support and local medical director education to help insure the service improves. EmCare has a 96% physician retention rate and 9+ year tenure at hospitals comparable to SWMC. They have a national partnership with Studer Group, the renowned leader in customer service improvement in the hospital industry. Additionally, EmCare has real-time systems for measuring quality, customer service, response rates, data accuracy which will all assist in the improvement of ER services at SWMC.

The physicians currently contracted for the ER physician service at SWMC are independent physicians contracted specifically for their ER service. Only one of those physicians would be considered a “local” physician while the others had either moved to Liberal or have temporary housing in Liberal because of the contract with SWMC. EmCare may be in contact with each of these physicians for possible employment.

“EmCare has much more experience and many resources available to them to assist us in improving the service to our ER patients,” said Lambert, adding “Our goal at SWMC is to provide the best service and care to our patients.”


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