In December, Southwest Regional Medical Center announced an agreement to partner with Emergency Resource Management Inc. (ERMI). ERMI, part of UPMC, is one of the largest employers of emergency medicine physicians in Pennsylvania. The agreement also provides a medical director who will oversee the medical services provided. Paul Beck, M.D., began serving as interim medical director beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
“We have a great team of physicians here serving the community,” said Dr. Beck, board certified in emergency medicine. “Our priority is to make sure patients receive fast and quality care. Things are definitely moving in the right direction.”
The goal is for patients to be seen by a healthcare professional within 30 minutes of walking in the door. The current average is 33 minutes and dropping since ERMI began. Dr. Beck will also provide administrative support to ensure quality and speed of service for patients presenting to the Southwest Regional Medical Center emergency department. He is assigned to Southwest Regional for approximately 6 months to ensure a smooth transition. At the end of 6 months a permanent director will be named.
Dr. Beck started his career as an emergency medical technician in 1983 and became a paramedic in 1986. He went on to attend medical school at Penn State University, completed residency at the University of Michigan and did a fellowship in EMS at the University ofPittsburgh. He previously served as Associate Medical Director for STAT MedEvac and as Medical Director for Tulsa LifeFlight for 2 years.
In addition to the medical director, ERMI now provides Southwest Regional Medical Center with physician coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Mid-level providers, such as Physician Assistants or Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners, will be available 20 hours per day, 365 days per year. All insurances previously honored are still accepted for patients presenting for emergency care.
Altogether, ERMI serves approximately 475,000 patients each year. As an affiliate of UPMC, ERMI provides access to invaluable resources, quality, expertise and stability. With a national shortage of emergency physicians, many community-based hospitals are looking to the economies of scale offered by management partners such as ERMI.
“We believe in offering only the best care to our community,” said Cindy Cowie, Chief Executive Officer for Southwest Regional MedicalCenter. “Our newfound relationship with ERMI will eliminate medical staffing inconsistencies, which have provided occasional challenges.”
The emergency department at Southwest Regional Medical Center treats over 24,000 patients each year. The emergency department has eight treatment rooms with immediate access to laboratory testing and diagnostic services, which range from x-ray to CT exams. Many patients with conditions serious enough to require admission are able to receive care at Southwest Regional. The inpatient services consist of 31 medical/surgical beds, five Intensive Care Unit beds, a 15-bed Surgical Care Unit and 26 behavioral health beds.