Five months in, Bladen County Hospital likes changes made to Emergency Department

Alan Wooten, Bladen Journal, Elizabethtown, N.C.
·2 min read

Feb. 22—ELIZABETHTOWN — Third-party staffing agencies are out.

Bladen County Hospital and its parent company, Cape Fear Valley Health, have switched to its system physicians to staff the Emergency Department here. Four physicians will work there regularly, and five doctors are going to be splitting shifts at the Elizabethtown hospital and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville.

Dr. Vicki Lanier, medical director of the hospital, said in a prepared release it is not unusual for rural hospitals to turn to third-party staffing for emergency departments.

"In October, we made the switch and now all of our doctors who rotate through here are also part of our health system and already familiar with our Emergency Department policies and procedures from also doing shifts at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center's ED," she said.

Lanier said the Fayetteville hospital has one of the state's busiest emergency departments. The skills learned and experiences of physicians there will benefit patients in Bladen County.

Likewise, when Bladen patients need to be transferred to Fayetteville, there will be familiarity for the care team upon their arrival.

A collateral benefit for patients is the absence of a bill from the third party; all billing for services now will come through Cape Fear Valley.

"I think it really has improved the quality of emergency care and the commitment of the staff to this facility," Lanier said. "It gives continuity when there's not a lot of doctors rotating in and out."

Stephen Fife, the president and chief financial officer of Cape Fear Bladen Healthcare, said in the release the change has been in the works and the results are pleasing.

"We've been working with the team at Cape Fear Valley to shift this employed model for quite some time now," Fife said. "To say we staff our Emergency Department with only physicians who are board certified in Emergency Medicine is great for our community. Out county deserves to receive the same level of care in our hospital that you would find in larger, urban hospitals."

Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or awooten@bladenjournal.com. Twitter: @alanwooten19.