Free standing ERs offer viable option

Published 8:16 am Saturday, December 24, 2016

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Concerns for emergency care in Orange County has generated more questions than answers since Baptist Hospital announced emergency room services would end on January 12, 2017. A press release for the announcement cited the action is required because the emergency services physician group staffing the Orange emergency room has terminated their agreement to provide services.

Neighbor’s Emergency Center located at 1321 North 16th Street in Orange opened in May 2015. Physicians Board Certified Emergency Room doctors.

“All our physicians have emergency room experience,” Tracie Gibbs, Neighbor’s representative said. “All of our staff has emergency room experience.”

Gibbs also said if one feels they are having an emergency, stop at the free standing ER first.

“We have a registered nurse on staff and will triage you right in the patient’s room,” Gibbs said. “If you need to be admitted to a hospital, we can get a room and a doctor set up at the hospital. You are not sitting in a waiting room, you will go straight to a room at the hospital.”

By making the arrangements for the patient with the hospital, the center is able to bypass another emergency room assessment before one is admitted to the hospital.

“Our doctors work in 24 hour shifts,” Gibbs said. “So they are always right here on site.”

“We also do our imaging here,” Radiologist Technologist Miranda LeBouef said. “We have x-ray and CT capabilities. We can send the images to a radiologist 24/7 and have the readings here before you leave.”

Radiologist and lab work results are available on a disc when a patient is discharged.

The facility also has a child’s room and an OB/GYN room available.

“We will conduct a medical screen on every patient,” Jessica Pachar Emergency Room RN said. “If it is not an emergency, we will give the patient options.”

A follow-up call is given to each patient after 24 hours to check on their progress. If the patient was admitted into a hospital, a follow-up call is in 72 hours.

“All our staff is local,” Tracie Gibbs said.

“We are taking care of our neighbors,” Pachar added.

“We are not the neighbors to get a cup of sugar,” LeBouef said. “We offer medical care close to home.”

Neighbor’s Emergency Center is researching the steps needed to obtain licensure to be recognized by the government as a hospital.

“We hope to change the laws,” Pachar said.

Neighbor’s Emergency Center is registered as an emergency room. However, to be added to 911 rotation, freestanding ERs will need licensure to be recognized and permit an ambulance service to bring patients to the centers.

Licensure is  the state or condition of having a license granted by official or legal authority to perform medical acts and procedures not permitted by persons without such a license according to Merriam-Webster medical definition.

Neighbors Emergency Center encourages residents to call with questions or stop by the facility for a tour.

“We are aware of the concerns with the recent announcement of the hospital closing the emergency room,” Gibbs said. “We want the residents to know we are here when they have an emergency.”