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Pocono hospital outsources management of ER, standard care

By , - Last modified: April 12, 2013 at 11:22 AM

The Pocono Medical Center emergency room and standard hospital care admissions will soon be managed by TeamHealth, a Tennessee-based health care organization, in response to requirements levied by “Obamacare.”

Forty-one employees at the medical center in East Stroudsburg will be affected; they will have an opportunity to join TeamHealth, according to PMC.

Founded in 1979, TeamHealth is a national company with a presence in 11 states that will add a 12th with Pennsylvania with its integration of emergency room and hospitalist care to begin Aug. 1.

"The Affordable Health Care Act is very specific about coordination of care and integration of care," said Geoffrey M. Roche, spokesman for Pocono Medical Center.

"That's going to integrate the services between the emergency room and hospitalist medicine."

The arrangement will save $1.2 million for the medical center, Roche said.

PMC released requests for proposal in January for both emergency room care and for hospitalist care and reviewed offers from several providers before choosing TeamHealth, which is based in Knoxville.

"The decision was part of the RFP [request for proposal] process," Roche said.

In a typical year, PMC's emergency room sees about 85,000 patients, and since June 30, 2012, it has seen about 81,000 this fiscal year, Roche said.

Numbers of patients for standard hospitalist care at PMC vary widely and were not readily available, he said. Hospitalist care is administered by staff other than a patient's primary care physician – after the patient has been admitted to the hospital.

The PMC emergency room has 15 physicians, five physician assistants and two nurse practitioners, not all of whom are full-time, Roche said, while the PMC hospitalist group has 12 physicians, five physician assistants and two nurse practitioners.

"All of the current emergency department and hospitalist [staff], physicians and providers will have opportunity to join TeamHealth," Roche said. "We do know that TeamHealth is going to staff our emergency room with more [providers] than we currently have."

Officials could not say whether the medical providers would retain the same salaries should they elect to make the transition to TeamHealth.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@lvb.com

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