About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
An update on SRMC
The lights will be on, and there will be patients in a few of the beds at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, beginning Monday, May 24. But Tim Tobin, chief executive officer, cautions that the hospital won’t be open to the public until two weeks later, on Monday, June 7.
The early arrivals are required under new rules from the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The regulators want new hospitals to care for 30 patients before being certified for full-scale operations. During this early period, Spotsylvania expects to treat all kinds of patients. The patients will be referred by the medical staff and free clinics or brought in my EMS crews.
Tobin talked about a number of topics in a conversation this week. They included:
* The hospital will use a cell phone service that tells potential patients the current wait in its emergency room. Tobin said he expects the service to be available by opening day. Other HCA hospitals in Virginia use web sites, billboards and texting to notify patients about ER waits. At the six HCA hospitals in Richmond, cell-phone users can text “ER” to 23000 and get a text back with wait times.
An article about the service, here, appeared this week in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. A representative of Mary Washington Healthcare said this week that the company is also working on a system to notify the public about ER waits. Their system could be ready this summer.
* The number of employees hired as of Monday was 399.
* Spotsylvania has signed a transfer agreement with Mary Washington Hospital. If one hospital isn’t able to care for a patient, the other agrees to help. For example, if a patient is undergoing an angioplasty at Spotsylvania but needs open-heart surgery instead, that patient can be transferred to Mary Washington. Spotsylvania will not have an open-heart program at the start.
* The hospital is talking with health insurance plans about becoming a provider in their networks. Tobin said he hopes to join all of the major insurance companies.