HCA Healthcare announced earlier this week that the emergency services unit at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center was the top performing ER out of all 185 hospitals managed by the company last year.
The emergency room was also named a Unit of Distinction, an honor given to about a dozen of the highest-performing HCA-owned hospital units in the country. EIRMC has had units that were given that distinction from its parent company in the past but hospital spokeswoman Coleen Niemann said this was the first time one of its units was the top-rated in the country.
Forty-five measurements are used to determine the rankings for emergency rooms, with many of them focused on the speed of treatment and the level of training for the staff. Emergency services manager Matt Reeves said the hospital has gone through a gradual process of improvement to get those response times to their current level.
“With the reconstruction and remodeling, we’ve had to be very creative with how we get our response times down or keep them where they’ve been,” Reeves said.
EIRMC’s emergency room served 1,540 trauma patients last year and had one of the highest volumes of patients who needed urgent, intensive treatment of any HCA hospital. The average EIRMC patient in 2018 saw their first doctor or nurse within seven minutes and would go 127 minutes between arriving at the hospital and being discharged to go home or receive treatment in another department.
The advanced staff training also was a measure that helped push EIRMC to the top of the list last year. Seventy percent of the ER nursing staff had gone through the additional training to become a Certified Emergency Nurse. Reeves said most hospitals he knew of struggled to have half of their nursing staff earn that advanced certification, even with HCA Healthcare helping to pay for training.
“It really speaks to the high level of dedication from our nursing staff. They want to go above and beyond what is required of them,” he said.
EIRMC is in the process of expanding its emergency services, creating a dedicated wing for pediatric patients and increasing the number of treatment spaces from 29 to 40.