The Tri-County Health Care emergency department (ED) is now fully staffed by TCHC’s own physicians, establishing a more streamlined continuity of care for patients and fostering deeper relationships between providers throughout TCHC.
“I think from an ER standpoint, if you look at a huge majority of emergency rooms around here, there’s a lot of temporary physicians, a lot of people coming in and out, and that’s what we’ve had in the past,” said Rachel Redig, M.D., emergency department physician. “So to have this core group of physicians who can all talk to each other and work together to serve this community offers a lot that most places around here don’t have.”
Establishing a continuity of care
The recent addition of Nate Ronning, M.D., has brought the number of TCHC ED physicians to five and has reduced the need for visiting physicians to little to none.
“Our own doctors will now be covering on the weekends,” said Chris Harff, vice president of patient care services. “We knew this is what patients wanted and that this is what’s right for patients.”
Being full time allows the physicians to learn how one another and the team as a whole operates. They also form relationships with the family practice providers and across departments, with access to patient records to keep the line of communication open between the ED and a patient’s primary provider.
Specifically, the ED now has a close relationship with orthopedic surgeon Ben Robertson, M.D., when it comes to moderate orthopedic injuries or fractures. This close collaboration means these patients can often receive their care locally.
“I think that a lot of it is being able to communicate and have a much better foundation for emergency care, along with the follow-up,” Redig said. “The family doctors know us. We know them. We’re able to make sure we’re doing the best for our patients.”
“This should hopefully improve our patient flow through the department, better quality of care and more consistency,” added Matt Cary, emergency department manager. “Hopefully you don’t get to know those doctors by frequenting the ED, but if you do come in more than once, you may see the same doctor.”
Enhanced by expert care
Ronning and Redig are specifically board certified in emergency medicine, while the other physicians, Dennis Faith, M.D.; Amadin Osayomore, M.D.; and Ryan Scott, D.O., have extensive emergency and urgent care experience.
In addition to these skilled physicians, the ED has support from specially trained emergency care nurses, paramedics, EMTs, pharmacists and more.
“In a place like an emergency room when there truly is an emergency, you have to be able to anticipate everyone’s moves two steps ahead,” Redig said. “Now that we’ve got a solid group, that teamwork is much more defined and runs like a well-oiled machine.”
TCHC’s ED is designated as a CALS hospital, which stands for comprehensive advanced life support.
“CALS is a rural community group approach,” Cary said. “Basically, it’s a team-building class between doctors, nurses, paramedics and EMTs. They all work together to learn how to take care of really sick or injured patients together.”
TCHC is also designated as a Level IV Trauma Center, meaning it has met the Department of Health criteria for stabilizing trauma patients and transporting them to a higher level of care.
“We have five full-time ED docs and 40 percent are emergency medicine board certified. We have a highly trained nursing staff, and if something bad happens to you, we’re a good spot to come to,” Cary said.
Redig agreed: “We have something that a lot of places don’t have right now. It’s huge for a small town to have a fully staffed core group of ER physicians who are well-equipped to care for everything from an ankle sprain to a heart attack.”