From the moment of arrival at the MedStar Harbor Hospital Emergency department (ED), you are immediately greeted by a caring staff member who initiates a brief registration process. Following this initial interview, you are directed to the triage area, where a registered nurse, often aided by a trained technician, gathers information on your medical history and performs an initial assessment, including vital signs and a limited examination.
Pain management is a priority at MedStar Harbor Hospital, and if deemed appropriate, the triage nurse administers pain medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen (i.e. Tylenol and Motrin) before you leave the triage area. Following triage, you may be directed to the waiting area. Please be assured that our goal is to put every patient into a bed as quickly as possible, but you may experience a wait depending on how many other patients we are evaluating. We do not accept appointments and cannot always predict how many patients will register to be seen. Patients are seen based on the severity of their illness, not just based on their time of arrival. The most seriously ill and injured patients are seen first. Those required to wait for an examination room are re-evaluated routinely by the triage nurse. If you feel that your condition has changed, please ask the triage nurse to re-evaluate you.
While you are waiting, please refrain from eating or drinking until you are evaluated by a physician. Eating could delay your treatment and can worsen some conditions.
Once transported to the examination room, patients undergo thorough assessments by both registered nurses and ED providers. If testing is needed, a technician may draw blood or transport the patient for an X-ray or CT scan, located within the ED, or for more extensive testing in other areas of the hospital. Please be aware that it may be necessary to order advanced testing, which could prolong your stay in the ED. In particular, many CT scans require you to drink a contrast medication and will delay the test for approximately two hours. We will inform you about delays whenever possible.
Once an evaluation is made and treatment is administered, our specialty-trained ED staff works to coordinate care with your primary care provider and other specialists involved in your care. If you have no primary care provider or your provider does not maintain admitting privileges at MedStar Harbor Hospital, your care is overseen by a staff hospitalist. A hospitalist is a licensed and trained physician who serves as your personal physician throughout your hospital stay. Upon discharge, the hospital staff arranges for a primary provider or specialist to provide the follow-up care necessary for recovery.
A visit to the ED can be inherently stressful for patients and their loved ones. At MedStar Harbor Hospital, we will make every effort to respect your wishes about visitation. We generally require 20 to 30 minutes alone with a patient after he or she is placed in a bed. After the initial evaluation, we make every effort to allow appropriate visits from family or friends. Because of the nature of an Emergency department, we allow only one visitor per patient at a time. Visitors must be at least 16 years of age unless special arrangements have been made. Also, please note that there may be times that visitation will be prohibited, but we will provide frequent updates to keep you informed about your loved one's care and condition. We appreciate your understanding as we try to provide the best possible care for our patients in an environment that respects every patient's rights to privacy and comfort.
Following your visit to MedStar Harbor Hospital's Emergency department, you will receive at least two bills. Emergency Physician Associates of Maryland will send a bill for the physician's care provided to you and MedStar Harbor Hospital will bill you for your hospital visit. MedStar Harbor Hospital works with most insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. Our billing department will file claims on your behalf. However, patients are responsible for a portion of the bill, based on the rules determined by your insurance company. If you do not have insurance, you will receive bills for the full amount. To initiate a payment plan, call 410-933-2424 for hospital billing and 1-888-557-4455 for Emergency Physicians Associates billing arrangements.
As a proud member of MedStar Health, MedStar Harbor Hospital is dedicated to developing a deeper understanding of patient expectations and measuring the quality of care we provide our patients. If you recently visited our Emergency Department, you may receive a phone call from Discovery Research asking you about the experiences you and/or your family had while here. Please take a few minutes to honestly answer the questions. Your feedback helps us to identify ways we can continually improve our patients' experiences and the quality of care we provide, as well as recognize team members who did an outstanding job.