EMA partners with United Medical Center

Expanding the reach of its quality medical care, on May 15 EMA assumed management of the 29-bed adult emergency department at United Medical Center, which serves southeast Washington and surrounding Maryland communities.

Owned by the District of Columbia, UMC (1310 Southern Ave. SE, Washington) cares for a largely underserved and underinsured patient population and represents a unique partnership for EMA, says Mehdi Sattarian, MD, FACEP, the new Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UMC.

“We are here to recognize the challenges and see the opportunities and build up a very good 21st Century ED like any ED we work in,” he says. “Our goal is to bring the best practices we have everywhere and implement them here.”

 Sattarian oversees a staff of about 25 EMA providers, including 11 physicians, in UMC’s adult ED, which saw more than 55,000 patients last year with a 28 percent admission rate. Children’s National Medical Center runs a separate pediatric ED onsite. UMC’s in-house resources include MEDITECH electronic health records, ED ultrasound capabilities and 24-hour coverage by hospitalists, intensivists, OB-GYN, psychiatry, CT, pediatrics and neonatology. About 60 percent of patients triaged in the adult ED are seen in one of seven “fast track” beds designed for patients who have primary care needs. These beds are staffed by Advanced Practice Professionals under the supervision of an attending physician.

EMA providers have unique opportunities at UMC to serve a patient population in great need and contribute to quality improvement efforts like minimizing patient wait time and improving customer service. Among the measures designed to meet these goals is the introduction of the scribe program. As in other EMA-staffed EDs, providers can spend more focused time with patients trusting that ScribeAmerica professionals are skillfully managing documentation.

The medical center that would eventually become UMC opened in 1966 to fill a void left when the only privately owned hospital serving southeast Washington at the time moved across the city. In recent years, the facility has faced some financial and management hurdles, but Richard Ferraro, MD, FACEP, the Regional Director who oversees EMA operations at UMC, says the hospital’s dedicated administrators and staff are working passionately to overcome them.

“I don’t think in three or four years we’re going to be talking about the same challenges this hospital has had in the last 20,” Ferraro says. “EMA is going to be a huge part of that. The ED is the front door of the hospital – it’s the public face of the hospital.”