By James Beaty
The emergency room at the McAlester Regional Health Center has undergone some recent changes — and more changes are on the way.
That’s according to hospital Emergency Department Manager Teza Stimage. She presented an ED update to members of the McAlester Regional Health Care Authority during the group’s Wednesday afternoon meeting held at the hospital.
Some of the information confirmed an average length of stay for patients in the hospital’s Emergency Department.
Speaking of the average length of stay in the hospital’s ED in December, Stimage said “”Our time was 173 minutes.”
That’s down from a high of 192 minutes for the average length of stay in September, 2012.
The average LOS had then dipped to 169 minutes in October, before rising to 182 minutes in November, followed by the 173 minute LOS in December.
“Since I joined the team in early September, we’ve done several things,” Stimage said.
“Every patient is protocoled when they arrive,” she said, referring to those who go to the hospital’s emergency room. “That allows patients to be treated while they are waiting,.”
She also noted the waiting time for CAT scans has been reduced.
MRHC Authority member Weldon Smith asked why the average LOS for some patients have been up inside of down. For example, the average LOS rose to 182 minutes in November and 173 in December, after having been registered at 169 minutes in October.
“We were in diversions several times,” Stimage said.
Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Stacy Hardy, who is also a member of the MRHC Authority, offered some input.
“There’s been several days when our hospital rooms were full,” Hardy said. That means patients who needed to be hospitalized were diverted to other facilities.
That led to a discussion of the need to open more hospital rooms up for patient care, but Hardy said the facility is waiting for two more nurses to obtain Oklahoma licenses, so the areas can be properly staffed.
Stimage also made a projection for future use of the hospital’s Emergency Department.
“The Emergency Department will continue to be used by patients who don’t have insurance and continue to use the ER as primary care,” she said.
“We’ve always had that,” Smith said.
Another part of the report covered patients who left the hospital’s Emergency Department without being seen.
That number had been as high as 8.26 percent in September. It dropped slightly to 7.81 percent in October, to 7.27 percent in November and finally to 3.51 percent in December.
Another indicator in the report concerned the percentage of patients who came to the hospital’s Emergency Department who were admitted to the hospital.
A high of 18.44 percent had been registered in August, 2012, before dropping to 17.05 in September. It then rose to 17.26 percent in October; then dropped to 15.92 percent in November and settled at 14.94 percent in December.
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