Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when I arrive in the Emergency Department?
The team of medical professionals at the Maxwell Blum Emergency Department is committed to providing excellent, high-quality emergency care. Whether you arrive by ambulance or private vehicle, you will be brought into triage where a highly trained emergency room nurse will assess you to determine the severity of your illness or injury. Patients with life-threatening or the most severe conditions are given the highest priority and seen first. The nurse will take your temperature, pulse and blood pressure and conduct a brief medical history.
After being triaged by the nurse, you or your family will check in with the registration clerk to provide vital information. This information helps us facilitate the ordering of tests or X-rays that may be necessary during your evaluation. We will need your name, date of birth, next of kin, primary care doctor and other health information including whether you have a Health Care Proxy.
How long will I wait to be treated?
Wait time depends upon the severity of your condition and the number and condition of other patients in the department. Many patients come by ambulance or from other areas of the Hospital, so you may not see them arrive. If a bed is immediately available, you will be brought back into the treatment area to be seen by an Emergency Department physician.
If a bed is not immediately available, you may be asked to sit in the waiting area until one becomes available. The Emergency Department physician will examine you as soon as possible after you are taken to a bed. However, the physician may be delayed if more critical patients arrive unexpectedly.
Who will treat me?
Your treatment begins when you meet your triage nurse. He or she will assess your medical condition and begin your treatment, which may include initial blood work, an EKG or X-rays while you waiting for an available room. Once you enter the treatment area, another nurse will re-assess your needs and attend to you. He or she will deliver your treatment for the duration of your stay.
Our nurses have specialized training in emergency care and work closely with the physicians to provide you with optimum care. The nurses are often assisted by patient care assistants (PCAs). Under the supervision of your nurse, the PCA will draw blood, perform EKGs, take vital signs and assist patients with basic health care needs. Physician assistants (PAs) work under the direct supervision of our Emergency Department physicians and may treat you and perform your procedures during your time in the Emergency Department. The attending Emergency Department physicians are responsible for all patients except those who have arranged beforehand to meet their own physician.
Our Emergency Department physicians are board certified and have completed specialty training in emergency medicine. They are also medical school faculty members who directly supervise the senior medical school students, interns and resident physicians who may assist with your care.
How long will my tests take?
Lab tests and plain image X-rays are usually completed within one hour; however, there are occasional delays. CT scan results may take longer. If at any time you have not been informed or do not understand a specific procedure, please talk with your nurse or physician. As soon as your laboratory work or X-ray results are available, your physician will explain the findings. Occasionally, an additional test may be necessary.
How long will my treatment take?
Your particular emergency, illness or injury determines whether treatment will be simple or complex and how long it will take. Your treatment, carried out by the nurse and physician, may consist of IVs, medications, bandages or splints. The presence of other critically ill patients in the department may also influence treatment time.
Can I have visitors?
The Emergency Department staff tries to allow visitors whenever possible. Due to concerns over patient privacy, disease transmission and space limitations, we respect-fully request that only two visitors remain with you in the treatment area. Please be aware that Hospital staff are prohibited from giving out information about you to anyone without your permission. If you would like us to discuss your care with others, please let us know.
Do I need a specialist?
Emergency Department physicians are specialists. At times they consult with specialists in other disciplines such as cardiology, general surgery and surgical subspecialties. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions in this regard.
Do I need to be admitted?
The Emergency Department physician will determine if you are to be discharged or admitted to the Hospital. He or she may speak with your primary care physician or other specialists about your treatment. Sometimes these calls to other physicians may cause delays, especially if they are unable to return calls immediately. If admission to the Hospital is necessary, the time of your admission may be influenced by the availability of rooms. We will make every effort to expedite your admission.
Will my insurance cover this visit?
Most insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) cover emergency department visits. Many require a co-payment or deductible for the use of the Emergency Department, which we collect at the time of your visit. It is best to read your insurance manual or contact your insurance provider with any questions you may have. Please remember that we are willing to see all patients regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay. Free care is available to those who qualify. Please ask the registrars if you have any questions.
What are patient services representatives?
If you have any questions or concerns about your care in the Emergency Department, a patient services representative is available from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, seven days a week. Patient service representatives are available to assist you in communicating with the staff. The representative can direct you to many resources throughout the Hospital and assist you if you are having difficulty arranging a follow-up appointment.
What if I have questions about my care?
Please feel free to ask questions at any time during your visit. Upon discharge, you will receive detailed verbal and written instructions regarding your diagnosis, prescribed medications and recommended follow-up appointments. Due to the complex policies of many insurance providers, you may need to contact your primary care physician to authorize follow-up care. If you are having difficulty arranging a follow-up appointment, please call our patient services representatives.
What do I need to know about health care proxies and advance directives ?
The registrars can provide all patients with more information about Health Care Proxies and Advance Directives.
Will my physician be notified of my visit?
In many cases, the Emergency Department physician will contact your primary care physician (or his or her covering doctor) by telephone. In addition, a copy of your visit record can be faxed or mailed to your physician. Please help us to ensure that your doctor’s name is on your chart when you register.
What if I have suggestions and comments to share?
We welcome comments and suggestions for improvement. In an effort to serve you better, our staff may follow-up with a telephone call for your opinion about our services. We thank you in advance for your response.