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Montefiore in the News

April 18, 2018

A Model That Many Thought Impossible, Is Serving the Community Well

 April 18, 2018—(BRONX, NY)—The thought of an emergency department without beds may still be a foreign concept to many, but in the Bronx, a freestanding emergency department was just what the doctor ordered.

Approximately five years ago, Montefiore Health System acquired the former Westchester Square Medical Center, a community hospital. At the time, only 13 thousand people visited the hospital every year. But since Montefiore began operating as New York’s first freestanding ED, the number of visits has more than doubled, and is on track to surpass 36 thousand patient visits this year; about 100 patients a day. People come to Montefiore Westchester Square for a variety of conditions, such as broken bones to stroke to gastrointestinal bleeding. The ED also enjoys some of the highest patient satisfaction scores in the country, according to Press Ganey.

 “When we first opened Montefiore Westchester Square, people didn’t know what to think, and many just believed it was really an urgent care center in disguise, which it is not,” said Peter P. Semczuk, D.D.S., M.P.H., senior vice president and executive director of the Henry and Lucy Moses Campus, Montefiore Health System. “We staked our reputation on our emergency medicine certified doctors, and nurses and incredible support staff, people you wouldn’t find in your typical urgent care setting. They deliver outstanding care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – and it was the right move.”

 On average, it takes 20 minutes to see a doctor in the ED. One of the ways Montefiore achieves this is by having both doctors and nurses see patients together, as part of the triage process. This enables lab tests, prescriptions and X-rays to be ordered shortly after patients arrive.

 “I recommend Montefiore Westchester Square emergency department to everyone I meet,” said Nancy Rosario, Chair of the Health Committee for Community Board 10. “The staff is top notch. They make you feel comfortable, and provide all of the emergency services you might need under one roof.”

 Montefiore has developed a program that ensures that every patient discharged from the ED gets follow up care with primary care doctors within 48 hours of being seen in the ED. If patients don’t have a primary care doctor, the ED staff identifies the best physician. If a patient doesn’t have insurance, Montefiore helps with that too, by having a Financial Aid office onsite to determine free or low-cost insurance options.

 When a patient requires hospitalization, he or she is transported by ambulance to two Montefiore hospitals within a mile from the ED. Hospital admissions, however, only occur for six percent of the patients who come to Montefiore Westchester Square emergency department each day.

 “The success of Montefiore Westchester Square is a testament to what can happen when you put the healthcare needs of the community first,” said Lynn Richmond, EVP and Chief Strategic Officer, Montefiore. “We took a chance on developing something that works best for this community, and it has been so gratifying to see how well it works. In addition to delivering the very best patient care, our patient experience statistics rank top in the country.”

 Since Montefiore Westchester Square opened, four additional freestanding emergency departments have opened in New York State.

 Montefiore Westchester Square is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It has onsite lab services, a pharmacy, and social services support onsite. Patients’ electronic medical records are also linked to Montefiore’s hospital, primary care and school health sites.

 For more information on Montefiore Westchester Square, visit