Local hospital seeks PA for ER

Plans are already in the works to try and cut down on the time a patient has to wait to be treated in the emergency room at the Abbeville General Hospital.

According to statistics released by Abbeville General Hospital, the average time a patient has to wait in the ER is 2.6 hours. In emergency rooms throughout the state, the average waiting time is 4.5 hours or twice as long of Abbeville’s time.

Despite being under the state average, Abbeville General wants to improve on 2.6 hours and hopefully cut it down to just 90 minutes.

Voters earlier this month passed a 1/2 cent sales tax that will be dedicated to improve the emergency room. The tax will raise $1.5 million a year. However, the tax will not start to be collected until October and it will take a full year to collect the $1.5 million.

Until then, the hospital is going forward with drawing plans to re-design the emergency room.

In the mean time, the hospital contacted Sterlings Health Care to search for a physician assistant to work in the ER. The process could take two months.

The emergency room will have a PA (physician’s assistant) seven days a week between the hours of 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. which are the busy times of the emergency room.

Also on staff will be a doctor working along side of the PA.

The doctor will handle the emergency patients while the PA will take care of the patients that are non-emergency.

The combination of the two are expected to help increase the flow of patients, cutting down on their wait time.

Dr. Myriam Hutchinson is the physician in charge of the emergency room. She said the extra help will make improve the ER.

“Hiring a PA will allow patients to be seen a lot faster,” said Dr. Hutchinson. “We have a lot of patients who are non-urgent, and that is who the PA will see. The PA will be under the supervision of the physician all of the time. Each patient the PA sees will be reviewed by the physician who will be in the emergency room at the time. Everything will be supervised by the physicians in the emergency room.”

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