St. Louise Regional Hospital Emergency Department Sees Overnight Transformation 

December 11, 2023 /

In 2017 St. Louise Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department faced a dire situation.

The department’s combined elopement and left without being seen rate (LWBS) hovered near five percent — far from acceptable.

These metrics reflected a difficult reality: the small, rural ER department wasn’t able to provide all patients the level of attention and care they deserved.

To hospital administrators, it had become clear that a new staffing model was needed.

St. Louise Regional Hospital

The Search for a Fresh ER Staffing Solution

Thankfully, the leadership of St. Louise had been seeing completely different results from their sister hospital.

For years, Emergency Physicians Associates (EPA) had been delivering quality care at O’Connor Hospital, also in Santa Clara County.

Compared to the existing corporate group, EPA had several major advantages. 

These included: 

  • Democratic Model: EPA is a democratic group of Emergency Physicians. This means the group’s leadership is independent and self-managed, without layers of bureaucracy. 
  • Physician Staffing: EPA utilizes only board-certified Emergency Physicians
  • Pooled Resources: EPA pools financial resources from all of its hospitals which means it’s far easier to recruit and retain skilled, committed professionals at each site.

“Part of our appeal is that there are no layers,” says Daniel A. Nelson, MD, EPA’s VP of Business Development.

“There’s not this huge machine between the doctors on the ground and the leadership of the company. So when you talk to us, we can speak from the perspective of an Emergency Physician who works in the trenches.”

EPA recommends and deploys different approaches based on the need and the situation. In some cases a more gradual, less radical approach is needed. 

But when preparing its personalized pitch to St. Louise administrators, EPA knew a totally fresh start was called for. In particular, EPA wanted to put into place a completely new team of Emergency Physicians.

The outgoing medical group warned EPA that they would not succeed. 

Historic volume trends at St. Louise Regional Hospital with an average annual increase of 14.75%.

A Team Approach: Rebuilding St. Louise From the Ground Up

What transpired next was a huge team effort, with 100% commitment from everyone on board. 

The mission? To completely rebuild the Emergency Department, with the patient at the center.

Right away, EPA staffed the Department with only experienced board-certified Emergency Physicians.

Day and night, the administration, nursing, and EPA’s team collaborated closely. They focused on serving every single patient who walked in the door to ensure every patient received the care they needed.

Reflecting the new leadership paradigm, the Medical Director was present every day to ensure collaboration and address problems in real-time.

Instantly, there was a noticeable boost in morale. Staff and administrators felt excited to provide a new level of care for their patients. 

The vastly improved metrics immediately followed. After EPA’s first month, the combined elopement and LWBS rate was under two percent — a massive improvement from the previous five percent. The average length of stay was reduced by 35 minutes.

St. Louise Regional Hospital Left Without Being Seen (LWBS) Rates under Emergency Physician Associates.

Immediate Transformation, Long-Term Results

It has been nearly seven years since St. Louise’s partnership with EPA began. 

Despite record-high patient volumes, EPA has been able to continuously improve its efficiency and quality of care. Today, St. Louise boasts an incredible LWBS and elopement rate of 0.6% and 0.2%, respectively. 

EPA’s impact goes beyond the Emergency Department — the group has now become an integral part of the whole hospital.

And the St. Louise success story is spreading. Other hospitals in the Bay Area, such as Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, have now begun working with EPA to improve their respective Emergency Departments.

Partner with Emergency Physicians Associates

Leverage our proven expertise to staff Emergency Physicians for your hospital or urgent care center. Administrators ready to partner with EPA to improve efficiency and quality of care can contact EPA today.