Ambulance diversion and the struggle to secure 365 coverage
Last week, a bill was introduced in congress that would require hospitals to report instances of diversion. Failure to do so would result in funding cuts. Diversion is the practice of turning away ambulances when an emergency department is full. The practice has been around for a long time, but it has recently fallen under scrutiny after a number of studies have shown its negative effects on patient safety. The studies also show that minority, low-income, and elderly patients are the ones most affected.
Diverting due to coverage gaps
Patients are shipped to nearby hospitals not only in cases of overcrowding, but also when there are gaps in a hospital’s call coverage. The increased scrutiny on diversion is likely to shine a light on coverage gaps.
During a recent call committee meeting, I spoke with a hospital CMO about how imperative 365 coverage is to our communities. As the CMO pointed out, most organizations’ bylaws exempt physicians from having to take call at a specified age or after a certain number of years of service. Therefore, it’s possible to have a small number of physicians taking call in a given specialty even if there are plenty of others on staff. Physicians are typically scheduled 1 and 3 according to the unofficial rule followed by most emergency departments. Adhering to this rule while upholding the organization’s bylaws, it’s often impossible to achieve 365 coverage. At smaller hospitals with no residency programs and aging physician populations, staffing 365 coverage is and will continue to be particularly challenging.
Securing 365 coverage
At MaxWorth, we’ve been working with healthcare professionals for the past fifteen years. During this time, the struggle to staff emergency departments has proven to be one of the enduring challenges in a constantly changing industry. We believe our Call Pay Solution can help organizations secure 365 coverage. The program makes call compensation more meaningful for physicians, and it ensures the sustainability of an organization’s call compensation program for years to come. To learn how our Call Pay Solution can help you secure call coverage, click here.
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