Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark opened a new unit in the
Emergency Department for patients who have minor injuries or illnesses.
The Fast Track unit will help reduce overall wait times for all patients
who seek care in the hospital’s Emergency Department, said Dr. Kevin
Edwards, the medical director of the Emergency Department.
Saint Michael’s already has among the shortest wait times in Greater
Newark, according to statistics compiled by Medicare. In the last report
available on Medicare’s Hospital Compare, the average time patients
spent in the emergency department before they were seen by a healthcare
professional was 30 minutes.
Since then, the time has been reduced to 20 minutes as a result of a number
of changes in the emergency department and Edwards said the hospital is
striving to do even better.
“Our goal is to ensure all of our patients receive the highest level
care within minutes of entering the emergency department,” Edwards
said. “We will provide even more efficient care so patients can
have their medical problems addressed without spending their day waiting.”
The Emergency Department at Saint Michael’s is a point of pride for
the hospital, which was purchased by Prime Healthcare in May 2016. The
Emergency Department was rebuilt as part of an addition to the hospital
several years ago and offers private treatment bays and two resuscitation
rooms with state-of-the-art equipment.
“Having a dedicated Fast Track unit will allow us to better serve
our patients,” said Chief Nursing Officer Nancy Bisco-Flora. “Our
number one priority in the Emergency Department is to deliver medical
care to patients quickly.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to mark the opening of the Fast Track
unit, which is located in a previously unused portion of the main Emergency
Among those in attendance were Saint Michael’s CEO Robert Iannaccone;
Central Ward Councilman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, Harrison Mayor James
Fife; Dr. Mark Wade, the director of Health and Community Wellness for
the City of Newark, Mary Beth Boger, the dean of Students and Campus Life
and the Rev. Ronald Slaughter, the chairman of Saint Michael’s board
and the pastor of St. James AME.
“The opening of the Fast Track ER is another example of Saint Michaels
commitment to the community since Prime Healthcare took ownership,”
Slaughter said. “By opening this Fast Track, Saint Michael’s
is sending a message to the Greater Newark community that we are a hospital
that genuinely cares for your health, but also values your time.”
Also in attendance at the ribbon cutting were members of various ambulance
crews from the Greater Newark area.
The Fast Track unit was blessed by the Msgr. Manuel Cruz, the auxiliary
bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, who confessed that he worked as an
orderly in an emergency room to pay his way through seminary school.
“It is the best job to be in an emergency room to be a source of
strength and healing,” said Cruz, a member of the hospital's
board and who also served for many years as the chaplain of Saint Michael’s.
Edwards, who joined Saint Michael’s in July, graduated from New Jersey
Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
and acquired board certification in Emergency Medicine at Morristown Medical Center.
He previously served as an emergency medicine attending physician at Waterbury
Hospital in Connecticut and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie,
N.Y., among others.
Edwards said the new Fast Track unit will allow the Emergency Department
to free up space for patients who in need of more critical care.
When patients arrive in the Emergency Department, they will be assessed
within minutes. If the triage staff determines the patient has a minor
injury or illness, they will be sent to the Fast Track unit, which can
treat a wide variety of non-life threatening illnesses.
The Fast Track unit will have five exam rooms and a transitional waiting
room, where patients can go while they wait for lab results or diagnostic
imagery. Edwards said patients who aren’t critically injured do
not need to occupy an exam room while they wait, which means another bed
can be freed up for the next patient.
The Fast Track unit will also free up beds in the main Emergency Department
for patients who are more critically ill, which will help reduce waiting
times for those patients as well. The changes will also help reduce wait
times for EMTs.
“We turned what was an unused section of the hospital into a refreshing,
nice Fast Track ER,” Edwards said. “It should help tremendously
improve the efficiency with which we work and the great care we can provide
to patients with low-acuity emergencies.”