SPRINGFIELD, VT –– Springfield Hospital’s contract with BlueWater Emergency Partners of Brunswick, ME, begins April 9th, 2019. This new contract, first announced last October, ensures access to a vital community service and provides the Emergency Department with a board-certified doctor, nurse practitioners and physician assistants working alongside the experienced nurses on site at Springfield Hospital 24/7, said the hospital in a statement released today.
“Superior clinical care and overall patient experiences are top priorities,” said Michael Halstead, Springfield Hospital’s Interim CEO. He added, “We remain committed to our promise ‘Where People Come First’ and we are confident that our collaboration with BlueWater Emergency Partners will deliver the high level of care patients expect ‑‑ particularly when they find themselves in emergency situations.”
BlueWater, 100% owned and operated by emergency physicians, has a “successful track record providing high quality care, operating efficiency and cost effectiveness in rural and community hospitals in New England. All Emergency Department operations are monitored daily to ensure high quality care is being provided,” said the hospital.
The American College of Emergency Physicians recently recognized three BlueWater locations as ‘top performers’ among the 1,000 emergency departments across the country that participate in E-Qual – a network of emergency clinicians that works to improve clinical outcomes, coordinate care and reduce cost. BlueWater CEO, Jay Mullen, MD, said they also offer “a unique program that is on the leading edge of opioid use disorder treatment in emergency settings that allows patients to have their treatment needs met quickly. This program will be particularly valuable at Springfield Hospital, where substance use disorder and mental health are identified as high priority needs in the region,” he added.
Mullen also stated, “Emergency Department doctors are trained to deliver babies in cases of emergency. We have worked closely with rural EMS teams and ED staff in other regions to provide childbirth emergency preparedness and we are willing to offer similar services if desired for the region.”
Halstead reports the overall focus is “to create positive experiences for patients and for health care professionals. Most importantly, our work will engage patients in healthier lifestyles and improve overall health outcomes in the communities we serve. Bluewater’s success delivering high quality care at lower costs will help us ensure local access to services that are financially sustainable, and that are essential to our population health strategy,” he added.
A change in billing will be noticeable to patients beginning April 9th. Patients who visit the Emergency Department will receive two invoices for care – one from Springfield Hospital for facility charges with payment returned to Woburn, MA; and one from BlueWater Emergency Partners for professional services with payment returned to Boston, MA. “We appreciate our patients’ understanding of this change,” commented Halstead.
Springfield Hospital’s existing financial assistance program will continue as currently offered. Anyone needing assistance is invited to call 802-886-8959 ext. 1506, or Valley Health Connections at 802-885-1616, to schedule a confidential consultation.
BlueWater leaders said they look forward to becoming more involved in Springfield Hospital’s area communities. “We are sponsoring an event honoring local EMS providers in May, and we look forward to finding more ways to collaborate with stakeholders in and around the region,” said Mullen.
“We extend our thanks and appreciation to the Emergency Services of New England staff that have provided emergency care for the Springfield region for many years,” said Halstead. “Springfield Hospital has a first-class Emergency Department and ESNE played an important role in that. While changes are taking place, we want the community to know that we are here continuing this vital community service.”
He also noted, “For times requiring less urgent care, the SMCS health center network includes locations in Springfield, Bellows Falls, Ludlow, Londonderry, VT, and Charlestown, NH. Each of these health center locations offers walk-in care, with no appointment necessary, as a cost-effective alternative to the emergency room. These are all important services for our region that we plan to continue, even as we adapt to meet the needs of a changing health care environment.”
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