Curry Medical Network said it has entered into a partnership with Advanced Health in a major step to open an emergency department at the network’s Brookings facility, 500 5th St.
Curry Health Network CEO Ginny Williams said Advanced Health has offered a short-term, $1.2-million line of credit to cover operational expenses until the emergency department’s services generate sufficient cash flow.
The annual operating cost for the Brookings emergency department is projected to be $4,929,000, Williams said, to be offset by revenue generated by the department.
Advanced Health is a coordinated-care organization developed in 2011 consisting of several medical groups, including ADAPT, Advantage Dental, North Bend Medical Center, Bay Clinic, Waterfall Community Health Center, Coast Community Health Center, Curry General Hospital, Bay Area Hospital, Southern Coos Hospital and Coquille Valley Hospital.
Williams said Curry Medical Network had considered opening an emergency department in Brookings for many years, but faced significant financial constraints.
“Curry Health Network reached out to multiple organizations to see if they had an interest in partnering with us to advance health care on the southern Oregon coast,” she said. “Advanced Health recognized the need, and that our organizational missions were aligned, and did not hesitate to offer financial assistance to open the emergency department.”
Williams said Curry Medical does not yet have a confirmed date for the emergency department’s opening.
“Once opened, the emergency department will be available to serve the medical needs of the public 24/7/365, and be staffed with highly-qualified and experienced emergency physicians, trauma- and critical care-trained registered nurses, and respiratory therapists,” she said.
“Additional providers will be staffed to accommodate patient surge situations. This is intended to minimize wait times and to ensure people with life-threatening situations can be seen immediately.”
Williams said that with the opening of the Curry Medical Center emergency care, it anticipates that 90% of all emergency department visits will result in patients receiving care and being discharged, while about 7% will be admitted to a hospital.
An estimated 3% of patients will receive stabilizing treatment and be transferred directly to a facility that provides a higher level of care, she said.
“When patients currently present with a heart attack, stroke, sepsis, severe respiratory distress, significant bone fracture, or abdominal emergencies and intestinal bleeding, our staff must rely upon ambulance services to transport the patient to an emergency department,” Williams said. “In the future, with the opening of Curry Medical Center emergency care, patients will receive full stabilizing treatment with rapid direct transfer, if necessary.”
Williams said Curry Health Network is restructuring its care to patients and expanding its services in Brookings. That will include providing emergency medical care in the new department, while offering same-day appointments for office visits.
The Brookings facility that’s currently utilized as a walk-in clinic will be converted for use by the emergency care department. Patients with same-day appointments will be seen in office clinic exam rooms for a single, non-chronic problem.
Should patients feel they should be seen by a healthcare provider, Curry Health Network will offer same-day office visits by appointment, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
“(Curry Health Network) will use the exact same cost structure it uses at the emergency department of Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach,” she said. “For those seeking services in our same-day appointment clinic, those charges will be the same as office visit charges at any of our locations.”
Williams said that until the new emergency department is officially open, those needing emergency services should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. Curry Health Network is accepting all emergency department patients, regardless of their ability to pay, at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach, said Williams.
“Once the emergency department in Brookings is open,” she said, “residents living in the south county will have a fully functioning emergency department in their own community, eliminating the need to travel 28 miles in either direction for lifesaving emergency medical care.
“In certain circumstances, the time it takes to travel (that distance) could be the difference between life and death.”