More than a decade ago, a much-needed hospital closed. Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center (commonly known as “King/Drew”) of Compton, California, was shuttered after failing a review by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and, as a result, losing federal funding. Immediately, South Los Angeles no longer had a hospital providing emergency and indigent care.

Two years later, Los Angeles County agreed to fund a new hospital, with staffing support from the University of California. That was 2010. For five years, the community eagerly awaited the opening of the new facility, which finally occurred in July 2015. The new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital is one of the most modern hospitals in Southern California. Featuring state-of-the-art technology, the hospital provides general acute care in 131 beds and includes a 21-bed ED, a critical care unit, labor and delivery services, plus radiology and imaging.

Shortly after, the hospital contracted with VEP Healthcare to manage its ED. Originally projected to serve 30,000 patients per year after two years, the ED was serving an average of 4,000 patients per month within a year after opening.

Improving performance and patient satisfaction

Performance metrics and patient outcomes immediately showed major advances. Just as it does in the more than 30 hospitals where it manages ED services, VEP helped MLK, Jr. Hospital establish its objectives: improved patient outcomes, decreased “door-to-provider” time, decreased “left-without-being-seen” rates, decreased malpractice claims, and increased patient satisfaction. Progress has been made in all these areas.

Using a system called Rapid Patient Management™ (RPM), VEP has redesigned processes so that the multiple steps of patient evaluation occur in parallel, improving throughput, eliminating unnecessary redundancy, and enhancing communication among the emergency department team members.

In fact, at centers across the US where VEP has implemented RPM, the system has reduced double-digit left-without-being-seen rates to below 1% and significantly reduced door-to-provider times. At several high-volume sites, more than 50% of the patients are seen and discharged by the RPM process and never enter the main ED, thus freeing up valuable space for more severe cases.

VEP involvement also usually results in increases in patient satisfaction scores. Surveys by Press Ganey Associates consistently result in high scores for EDs managed by VEP. Our partner hospitals call our positive impact “The VEP Effect.”

VEP also helps hospitals implement VEPeds™, a plan of action based on national guidelines, to help emergency departments become “Kid Certified.” These and other VEP actions help institutions such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital deliver high-quality care as efficiently as possible.

To see what VEP can do for your ED, please contact Mitesh Patel, MD, at mpatel@vephealthcare.com.

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