At the Emergency Department (ED) of St. Joseph Medical Center, our mission is to treat every patient in the most timely fashion, with the most accurate diagnosis and the most effective specialty care possible. And we have the experienced physicians and nurses on staff and the procedures in place to ensure the best possible outcomes. Visit shorterERwait.com to learn more about the expert care provided by our ED.
Registration and Triage
Upon your arrival, you will register and provide basic information. In the ED, the process of deciding who is seen first is called “triage,” and it is conducted by the triage nurse who sorts patients according to the urgency of their needs. The triage nurse will give you a brief initial assessment of your illness or injury, and if appropriate and possible, he or she will initiate protocols to expedite your care.
The most important rule in emergency medicine is to accurately diagnose the situation that has brought someone to the ED. It can mean the difference between life and death. Diagnostic precision is where St. Joseph emergency care really shines. We follow strict protocols to ensure the most accurate diagnosis and to ensure that serious emergencies receive specialty care faster and with the utmost accuracy. We also don't rely on residents and interns for the diagnoses of serious emergencies. We staff our ED with board-certified and, in some cases, double board-certified emergency medicine physicians and with nurses who are certified in emergency care. We have access to top, board-certified specialists who consult on specialty cases.
Care and Treatment
An experienced emergency provider will examine you. If necessary, diagnostic tests will be ordered. Depending on the type of tests ordered, results may take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours. The ED provides three separate services:
- Emergent Care
- Urgent Care
Patients with more severe illnesses or injuries are taken to Emergent Care, while patients with less severe problems are taken to Urgent Care. Some patients are here for follow-up care and procedures, such as suture removal. Because these follow-up visits are brief, these patients are usually seen immediately, and do not add to your waiting time for emergency treatment.
Immediate Access to Specialty Care
Besides experienced emergency medicine professionals, St. Joseph offers a roster of on-call specialists—from cardiologists and gastroenterologists to orthopaedic surgeons and pediatric specialists.
Among the top symptoms for which people visit emergency rooms is chest pain, a key sign of heart attack. Minutes and even seconds count, so action in the St. Joseph ED is swift. Emergency medicine physicians and nurses are trained to stabilize quickly, and leading cardiologists are on hand to treat—whether through angioplasty or surgery—in St. Joseph's Heart Institute.
Similarly, as a certified Primary Stroke Center the entire staff in the St. Joseph Emergency Department is specially trained in the recognition and prompt treatment of stroke.
In many cases, what patients need is direct access to top specialists once emergency physicians have diagnosed their condition. Patients who visit St. Joseph's ED get that kind of access through follow-up appointments with specialists like gastroenterologists and orthopaedic surgeons.
For ED patients and their families, peace of mind is priceless. We achieve that by offering accurate diagnoses, and by quickly providing whatever specialty treatment is needed.
Your family and friends are important because they provide support for you and information that can assist in your diagnosis and treatment. However, because of the nature of emergency treatment, we must limit the number of visitors to two. We suggest that one family member communicate with other family and friends in the waiting area.
Vending machines are available in the waiting area but if you are a patient, please do not eat or drink anything unless you have checked with the triage nurse.
Physician, radiology services and hospital services are each billed separately, in accordance with Maryland law. Physician services are provided by Osler Drive Emergency Physicians Association (ODEPA), and radiology services are provided by Advanced Radiology, Inc. Please be aware that state legislation requires hospitals to bill treatment within an emergency department at hospital-based rates regardless of whether the treatment is rendered in the Urgent or Emergent care areas. Insurance carriers may vary in their reimbursement for these services.