Hospitals Duel Over ER Care In Arkansas

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 24, 2008 12:00 am  

Lynn Weaks, CEO of Arkansas Surgical Hospital, said the hospital meets all the regulatory requirements by having registered nurses on-site 24 hours a day, and doctors are on call if they're not at the hospital.

He said if all hospitals were required to staff doctors 24 hours a day, rural hospitals would face a financial strain.

The Surgical Hospital of Jonesboro has two emergency room beds. Miller said the hospital is staffed with a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And the doctors are on call 24 hours a day, he said.

Transferring patients from one hospital to another happens when the patient requires it, Miller said.

"In northeast Arkansas many patients are transported from the emergency rooms to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis," Miller said. "Is it appropriate for these hospitals to transfer patients to a higher level of trauma care, yet complain that SHJ does the same thing?" 

Quality Care

Miller pointed to several studies that showed the quality of care is better at specialty hospitals than at community hospitals.

Weaks also said the Surgical Hospital has received nationwide awards for its quality of care.

Arkansas Surgical Hospital ranks among the top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation for joint replacement surgery and spine surgery, according to the 10th annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study.

The Surgical Hospital also received the HealthGrades Specialty Excellence Award for joint replacement surgery as well as the Specialty Excellence Award for spine surgery, according to a news release from the hospital in October.

The Surgical Hospital was one of only 13 hospitals in the country to receive both awards.

"This award speaks volumes about the caliber of physician and quality of staff found here at Arkansas Surgical Hospital," Weaks said in a news release at the time.

Weaks said he didn't want to get into a mud-slinging contest with the community hospitals.

"We want to have goodwill toward the community hospitals," he said. "We think they do a very good job at what they do, and we're confident that we do also."                                 



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