To streamline patient care, the STHS ER Monte Cristo was built with a separate entrance for ambulances.
With the recent grand opening of STHS ER Monte Cristo, people who live in more rural parts of the county now have access to emergency care. The ER at the South Texas Health System provides 24-hour emergency care every day of the year. The ER is staffed with the same medical personnel and equipped with the same diagnostic technology available in South Texas Health System's emergency rooms attached to hospitals.
STHS Director for Ambulatory Services, Conrad Brown, MS, RN, says the new ER will make a difference for people who live further away from the hospital and need care. “We are an actual ER and take care of all conditions the ERs attached to hospitals handle, but our turnaround time can be quicker because we do not have inpatients,” says Brown. “A laboratory is onsite, as are a CT scanner and X-ray so tests can be completed fairly quickly. All medical documentation is on the same system as our hospitals, so if a patient is admitted as an inpatient, the hospital already has the information on record.”
Another plus is that the laboratory and radiology services are available to the public on a walk-in basis. “For example, if someone’s doctor orders an X-ray, CT scan or blood test, the person can come here with their doctor’s note and we can do it for them. The results will be available in the system so the doctor can access it from any of the hospitals,” says Brown.
Updated Design for Efficiency
Monte Cristo's updated floor plan will be the model for all future freestanding ERs.
The STHS ER Monte Cristo had a successful opening, and in its first two weeks took care of 176 patients. Brown states there is no facility in that area like this, so it is great to be able to accommodate the community by providing this type of care. “Our staff sees people with all kinds of ailments and conditions, and most of them we can treat here. For those who have more serious injuries, we can start the treatment here and transfer them to Edinburg Regional Medical Center or a hospital of their choice for further inpatient care.”
Brown states the Monte Cristo location is the first one built with an updated floor plan. “We wanted to have more visibility of our patients, more open space and a more efficient design,” he says. “All future freestanding ERs will be modeled after this location. We looked at our current models and determined what changes could be made to improve the functionality and patient flow, and this design is an example of that. We were able to streamline the entire patient process, so people spend less time here and more time recuperating at home.”
The Building Continues
Not long after the Monte Cristo location opened, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new STHS ER Ware Rd., located at 3700 W. Nolana, in McAllen. Construction began in February, and it is expected to be open in the fall. It will be the eighth ER for South Texas Health System. This ER will serve the community living closer to the west side of McAllen. Plans are currently in the works for other locations, including Alamo.