Emergency Department

From routine emergency care to serious trauma, St. John Medical Center’s Level III Trauma Center meets the diverse needs of more than 51,000 patients treated in our Emergency Department each year.

Medical emergencies are not predictable. Our patients rarely expect to have a medical emergency!  The following information may help ease the stress of your visit:

Arrival
Emergency department staff see patients as they arrive. Those who need the most immediate medical care are treated first.

Triage
Triage is a process during which a nurse checks and assesses patients according to their immediate healthcare needs.  You will be asked for information, such as your name, address, medical, and medication history. Regardless of ability to pay or insurance coverage, no one who comes to our emergency department seeking treatment is turned away.

Examination
Examination Once you are placed in a treatment room, an emergency medical provider will examine you. The provider may order tests such as x-ray, blood tests, and electrocardiogram (EKG)). Your vital signs will be monitored. Nurses and other staff will care for you during your visit.

Treatment
If you are very ill, you may have to stay in the hospital. If you do not have to stay, an emergency provider will talk to you about your care plan. You may also get information about medications, work or activity restrictions, or symptoms that could require a return visit.

Why do I have to wait so long?
There are a variety of reasons why you may be required to wait for care and treatment. The emergency department does not schedule appointments, so it has no control over how many patients arrive at a given time. You may arrive at an especially busy time, and therefore experience longer wait times.  There are many reasons a trip to the emergency department can take longer than a visit to the doctor’s office. Unlike a doctor’s office, where appointments are spread out, many emergency patients may arrive at once. Your emergency provider may request tests, medications, or visits with other providers. Unlike a doctor’s office, emergency department patients often must wait for the results of x-rays or tests before they are treated and discharged.

Your Medical Center Team

Medical Staff
An emergency provider will be in charge of all tests, medications, or consultations with other providers.

Nursing Staff
A registered nurse (RN) will coordinate and monitor your health status or condition. Other caregivers, under the direction of the RN, may assist with your care.

Social Work Staff
A social worker is on hand to see emergency department patients. The social worker can assist you with a plan to locate community resources. If you would like to speak with an emergency department social worker, please ask your nurse or physician.

Professional Services Staff
Your emergency provider may request professional services from laboratory technicians, radiologists, respiratory therapists and others. These caregivers supply vital information and therapies for your care. Some of these services will be provided in the emergency department. For other services you will go to another part of the hospital.

Spiritual Care Services
Chaplains are available for spiritual, emotional and cultural support.  Chaplains are available for patients and their families.  They work with the staff to support you when you are in the Emergency Department.  Please ask a nurse or emergency provider to contact Spiritual Care if you would like to speak with a chaplain.

Volunteers
Volunteers contribute many hours of service to St. John Medical Center and add to the services of the staff in many ways. Volunteers can answer many of your questions about the hospital and its services. Their blue jackets and name tags identify them.

About Your Visit

Do Not Eat or Drink
You are requested not to eat or drink anything without the emergency provider’s approval. Your treatment or condition may require blood tests, which may not be correct if you have recently had anything to eat or drink.                               

Personal Belongings
You are asked not to keep personal belongings during your stay at St. John Medical Center.  If you lose something, please notify your nurse or a security officer immediately to report your loss. The hospital is not responsible for lost items. Please give all found items to a security officer.

Visitors
Our visitation policy helps us provide excellent care to all patients seeking treatment in the E.D. and their families.  We are working hard to accommodate your needs and wishes.  In certain circumstances it may be necessary to limit visitors. Please respect and comply with the directions and requests of the E.D. staff.  Your cooperation makes it easier to assist you.  Visitors must not bring food into any E.D. area except for the lobby.

Violence to Staff
The Emergency Department has zero tolerance for violence, threats of violence, or abuse of caregivers. Any patient, family, or visitor that threatens violence or attacks a member of the caregiver team is subject to arrest. For your safety and protection our Security officers are trained with and carry Tasers.

Weapons
Weapons are not allowed in the Emergency Department.  Please ask a Security Officer to secure your weapon during your stay.

Separate Bills
You will receive separate bills for the hospital charges and your emergency provider’s fees, which will be a bill from Physicians . You may also receive bills from other providers like anesthesiologists, pathologists, and radiologists.    

Insurance                                             
You are responsible for all charges for your care at PeaceHealth. Usually, we will forward your bill directly to your insurance company.  Please keep in mind that it is your responsibility to solve any billing problems with your insurance company. If you have questions about your benefits, please contact your health plan first.  A billing representative may call you for additional information needed to ensure correct billing of  your insurance claims. 

Financial Arrangements             
The PeaceHealth business office is here for you. If you have questions about your bill or want to talk about your payment options, please call us at (360) 414-2191. You may also call us toll free at (800) 438-7562 x2191.

Financial Counseling                    
We are committed to caring for your health needs, regardless of your ability to pay. If you are worried about your bill, we offer counseling to help you with a reasonable payment plan.

Bridge Assistance                     
Some patients may be eligible for Bridge Assistance, our program to assist patients is reducing the cost of their medical care (in some cases free of charge). Bridge Assistance can help people who have little or no health insurance, who cannot get other aid, and who cannot afford to pay their bills.