Commissioners discuss hospital options

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


With the announcement of the emergency room closing at Baptist Hospital, Orange County Judge Brint Carlton and City of Orange Mayor Jimmy Sims toured a free-standing emergency room facility.

“I want to express my disappointment in closing the emergency services,” Commissioner Jody Crump said during the Tuesday afternoon meeting.

Orange County Judge Brint Carlton said the hospital did not contact the court concerning the decision.

Last week, the hospital announced effective January 12, 2017, all emergency services will be discontinued. 

“I thought we were suppose to met with the hospital to discuss bringing back inpatient services,” Commissioner Barry Burton said. “Instead, they announce the closing of the emergency room.”

A tour through Golden Triangle Emergency Center (GTEC), according to Carlton, was to find what services were available to the chemical plants and to the citizens of the county.

“It cleared up some misinformation,” Carlton said.

Brett Fuller of Neighbors Emergency Center was also in attendance of the meeting. He said he was unaware the county was interested in a tour and invited the court to tour the facility located on 16th Street in Orange.

While GTEC and Neighbors are emergency rooms, they are not on the 9-1-1 rotation.

“If you call 9-1-1, the ambulance is going to take you to a hospital,” Angela Webb with GTEC said. “You can request where you want to be seen.”

A patient cannot stay at the facility over 23 hours and 59 minutes, according to Webb.

“We are licensed as a free-standing emergency room,” Webb said. “We are not registered as a hospital.”

GTEC is hosting an open house on January 9, 2017 to answer questions for the public and offer tours of the facility.

Neighbors Emergency Center does not have a scheduled open house at this time but encourages residents to call with questions or stop by the facility.

“We are open 24/7,” Tracy Gibbs of Neighbors said. “We encourage anyone with questions to call or tour the facility. We are an option for any emergency. We can triage and if necessary, arrange a transfer directly to a bed at a hospital so they can bee immediately seen by a physician.”

For non- emergencies, Orange County Urgent Care is an option.

“We saw a niche to reduce crowding in emergency rooms,” Nurse Practitioner Brett Lackley said. “We are closed three days a year: Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving. “ OC Urgent Care is open Mon. – Sat. 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sun. from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

“We want the citizens to know what is available right now,” County Judge Carlton said. “We are looking at the future long term for a hospital in the area. We had a study done and are looking at all the options.”

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Commissioner Barry Burton said.