About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
The ER as front door
In talking with Dr. Jody Crane the other day, I was reminded of how a hospital’s emergency department is truly its front door.
Crane has been an ER physician at Mary Washington Hospital since 2000. He said that two-thirds of all admissions at the average hospital come from the ED. At Mary Washington, about 27 percent of the people who walk through the ED door end up getting admitted for further care.
These percentages become important, Crane said, when you consider the new federal health care legislation. The new law adds millions of people to the Medicaid rolls, beginning in 2014. These people are likely to use the ER for their primary care, he said, and some will become admitted patients. Crane and others have suggested that hospitals get ready for this new surge of patients. “If anybody thinks more volume isn’t coming, they’re nuts,” he said.
A resident of Fredericksburg, Crane, 41, is a graduate of the VCU Medical School. He did his advanced training at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also got an MBA in 2004 from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he remains an adjunct professor. He owns his own consulting business.
(For more on hospital crowding and the Health Department’s new guidelines on patient boarding, see the story this weekend in the paper.)