Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 18, 2013

Meadville Medical Center eyes changes to emergency room services

MEADVILLE — Meadville Medical Center is “in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy to improve emergency room services,” spokesman Barry Bittman told the Tribune late Tuesday afternoon.

Responding to a series of requests from the Tribune dating back almost a week for information about rumored changes taking place in the hospital’s emergency department, Bittman issued a press release including a statement from Chief Executive Officer Phillip Pandolph. According to the press release, Pandolph, who did not respond to a direct request for comment, said, ”with the goal of optimizing patient care in our emergency department, we are developing a strategy aimed at providing the highest quality emergency room care with improved convenience for our community. Our plan includes a series of personnel changes as well as the utilization of a new electronic health record system that integrates seamlessly with our hospital’s documentation system. As a direct result, we intend to improve overall efficiency and patient/family experiences with shorter wait times and improved coordination of care.”

The press release noted that “during this transition period, MMC is committed to fully staffing the Emergency Room and assures no interruptions of emergency services.”

According to Bittman, the plan to develop a new strategy is “simply part of (MMC’s) internal processes of improvement” and was not set into motion by a turn of events. “It’s the normal evolutionary process of care improvement,” he stressed.

As for the anticipated length of the transition period, a definitive timeframe has not been set, “but we hope to complete our transition within the first quarter of 2014,” Bittman said.

Bittman, who refused to disclose any details of the potential impact on personnel, also declined to reveal whether the emergency department is staffed by the medical center or operated under an outside contract.

Bittman stressed repeatedly that MMC is dedicated to “absolute continuity of care and no disruption of service” for those making use of its emergency department.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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