Springfield Regional Medical Center’s emergency room director resigned last week, prompting the hospital administration to start a nationwide search for a replacement.
Conrad Brown was hired as ER director last June, but left the position for undisclosed reasons, said Dave Lamb, a spokesman for Community Mercy Health Partners. The organization is searching for a replacement, but it isn’t clear how long the search might take.
In the meantime, Karen Harkins will serve as the emergency department manager reporting directly to Sherry Nelson, chief nursing officer, Lamb said. The physician team remains in place and is being led by Dr. Rubeal Mann.
The ER has seen improvements in the number of patient visits and satisfaction scores over the past year, Lamb said.
For example, patient satisfaction scores in the ER improved from 56.1 percent of patients saying their needs were always met in June last year to 63.4 percent by the end of December. Overall, the satisfaction score was 52.2 percent at the end of 2013, up from 2012 when the score was 43.4 percent.
“Obviously we had great results in the emergency department so it’s been a good team effort with Conrad’s leadership and the staff and the MD physician leadership,” Lamb said.
Brown has previously said the scores were a priority at Springfield Regional because low results indicate the community wasn’t satisfied with the care being provided. It also affected employee morale and led to three physician groups running the emergency department in three years.
Brown couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
The number of patients who visited the ER also jumped about 9 percent in the past year, climbing from about 75,000 patients in 2012 to about 81,700 patients in 2013.
Several changes have been made to address patient confidence and satisfaction with the ER, including contracting with a new physician’s group, redesigning the emergency room and utilizing a physician in triage during peak hours.
Those and other improvements are expected to continue regardless of Brown’s departure, Lamb said.
“We’re just going to continue with the progress we’ve made in the emergency department,” he said.