By Nolan Patrick Smith
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) –With Desert Valley Hospital’s new extension now open and operational, the positive effects from its opening are being felt throughout the hospital and the community. In a three part series of articles, we will highlight the technology inside the new extension, the human impact Desert Valley Hospital has had, and with this first article, we will see how the extension has affected the gateway for any hospital, the emergency room.
City of Victorville City Councilman Mike Rothschild spoke about the extension and it’s importance to the city and the High Desert as well. “For the city, like anybody in the Victor Valley, we have a desperate need for beds in the Victor Valley. The ratio of population to beds shows we are seriously under with beds, so we really do need this. It couldn’t come at a moment too late.”
The number of visits to the emergency departments within the United States is a staggering number. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 119.2 million people in the United States visit the emergency department each year. According to the Emergency Department Pulse Report by Press Ganey in 2010, patients spent a total of four hours and seven minutes in the emergency department per visit, making a visit to the hospital more of an all day even than a visit. We were able to speak with Desert Valley Hospital’s Emergency Department Doctor Leroy Pascal, MD about the congestion in the ER and how the new expansion to the hospital will help alleviate it.
“I have been up here for a little over 12 years now, and definitely what we’ve known is that as far as patients looking for primary care physicians, access to primary care physicians and for specialist, it’s often very difficult so they end up in the emergency department. Of course, the number one cause for back up in the emergency department is patients that are admitted and that are holding in the emergency department. It’s documented pretty much everywhere; that is the number one reason for back up. I’m excited because, for me, my number one goal is patient flow. Of course there are other issues with patient flow, but really if you speak to any directors in High Desert or down the hill, they are going to tell you that probably their biggest block is patients they are holding in the emergency department.”
Dr. Pascal touched on the effects already seen in the emergency department, with the expansion only opening a short time ago. “So with the expansion, of course, when it was first being discussed, the key is that we will be able to off load the patients into those rooms. So, what we are seeing now, with only opening a couple weeks ago, we are starting to see movement with getting patients upstairs. Of course, now the waiting room becomes less of a “waiting room” and becomes hopefully more of a brief transition so patients walk in, they get registered, and hopefully they don’t have to wait that long to get in to the emergency department.”
The congestion caused with patients waiting to be admitted into available rooms is a problem, but as Dr. Pascal stated, it can be seen as a good problem. “I think if every hospital had the problem that we had as far as patients coming through the door that need to be admitted and they need to expand beds; that’s a good problem to have. That says that the community trust you, they keep coming back so we have to accommodate them.”
Having only been opened for a couple of weeks now, the new extension’s impact on the emergency department is already being felt, and the impact is something that brought a smile to the face of Dr. Pascal. “Even recently when we opened up our ICU and we started opening up some of our med/surg beds, I can tell you within a couple of days, a patient gets admitted, and we have a tracker system where we can see when a patient actually gets a bed, that color change, it’s a beautiful thing. That’s been happening much, much quicker. So we are starting to see the effects now. Hopefully it can get out to the community that now that we have expanded, hopefully our wait times are going to drop significantly. We love to have patients in the emergency department; it’s a wonderful thing. But I know if they are admitted, I know it’s much more comfortable to be in a room.”
For the next article in the Desert Valley Hospital series, we will be focusing on the technology the new extension brings, and how it is beneficial to all. Also, make sure to check out the video tour we shot of the extension. For more information on Desert Valley Hospital, make sure to visit them online at www.dvmc.com.