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ER Spotlight

Emergency Department – Fast Track Process to See Patients Quicker

Hospital emergency departments have grown busier in recent years with the closures of several area hospitals and the increase in uninsured patients who have no source of primary health care.

To meet the growing need, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center has established a “fast-track” service within their emergency departments to treat patients with sore throats, ear aches and other ailments that require medical care but are not true emergencies.

“In addition to receiving excellent medical care, our department recognizes that patients also value being seen in a timely manner,” said Missy Blackstock, R.N., Director of the Providence Holy Cross Emergency Department. “To achieve this, we created a fast-track system to treat the less acute patients in a timely fashion just as we treat the patients with more life-threatening illnesses.”

To help encourage healthier communities, Providence has several outreach programs that provide free or low-cost preventive health care and early diagnostics. The goal is to treat conditions before they escalate to emergencies. Providence Holy Cross also provides numerous outpatient services throughout the Valley, especially with its Santa Clarita and Porter Ranch outpatient centers.

In the Spotlight

Holy Cross ER Receives Honors

CEP America, a physician-owned group that staffs 84 hospitals nationwide, honored Providence Holy Cross Medical Center’s Emergency Department in 2010 as the best among its membership.

The ranking was based on treatment of serious medical conditions including stroke, heart attack, pneumonia and sepsis, patient satisfaction survey results and the wait time to see a physician – an average of just 17 minutes.

“They felt we did the best job of the CEP hospitals,” said Jason Fisher, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department, who credited the entire staff.

“We achieved this as a team. The physician care is just part of the puzzle. We have the best quality nurses; they’re unparalleled to any place I’ve worked. And our EMTs and physician assistants are great. Everyone has a role and we work well together.”

More than 70,000 patients a year – nearly 200 a day – visit the Providence Holy Cross ED.

“While patients should visit their nearest hospital in a life-and-death emergency, we hear all the time that people come to Holy Cross from miles around because of our reputation for quality,” said Missy Blackstock, RN, nurse manager of the ER. “Our clinical outcomes are very good.”

CEP, formerly California Emergency Physicians until expanding nationwide, was established 30 years ago and is recognized as a national leader in developing and implementing emergency department programs that excel in quality, service and operational excellence. CEP is the largest private emergency physician group in the state and among the largest in the nation.


About four years ago, Steve Jenkins, a Los Angeles Police canine officer, came to the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center Emergency Department with an infected wound from a dog bite. Before he’d completed the paperwork, a doctor was ready to see him.

Jenkins, 43, who lives in Long Beach and was training in the area, remembers being impressed with the efficiency and the quality of care in the busy ER.

“I remembered thinking ‘what a great hospital, I wish I lived closer… just in case,’” the 22-year LAPD veteran said. “My memory was of excellent care for a dog bite. Who knew I would go back there to get my life saved?”

It was April 4, 2011, hours before dawn. The call was routine for the LAPD’s elite Metropolitan Division, the umbrella bureau for highly trained special squads, including the canine handlers.

Jenkins, armed with a shotgun, was slowly entering the Sylmar home of a man suspected of assaulting his wife. There had been no sign anyone was in the house but officers exercised extreme caution as they entered through the front door, Officer Jenkins in the lead position.Jenkins.jpg

With no warning, gunfire broke the silence. Three shots were fired from a landing to the side of the door. Two of them hit Jenkins, one in the jaw and one in the upper chest.

The team withdrew and the officer was rushed to Providence Holy Cross, to the premier trauma center serving northern Los Angeles County. Later, the maxillofacial specialists who have continuously treated Jenkins at USC Medical Center have credited Holy Cross trauma surgeon David Hanpeter, M.D., with saving the officer’s life. One bullet had destroyed a crucial vein in his chest; another shattered his lower jaw.

"It was the worst case scenario and I got sent to the best place in the world,” he said. “I’m just so overwhelmed by how caring and compassionate everyone was."

He has since returned and met many of his ICU nurses.

“I heard the stories that my wife, my mom, my friends told me about Holy Cross,” he said. “They said everyone was just awesome. Your hospital and everyone who works there will always have a special place in my heart.”

The officer says without hesitation he owes his life to the trauma team. And, though he was comatose during his four days at Holy Cross, he profusely thanks the entire hospital staff, including the admitting staff and X-ray technicians he has seen in follow-up visits who have exhibited the hospital’s trademark compassion.

He still faces more surgery on his jaw and is limited to soft foods. And he’s determined to get back to work, probably in the spring. Today his focus is on family time. His wife Beth is an LAPD sergeant, one of his two adult sons joined his dad in the LAPD and the triplets – two girls and a boy – are starting the first grade.


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