Frequently Asked Questions
about the Emergency Department
Why are some people seen sooner than others?
We are committed to providing excellent patient care, no matter what the illness or injury. Triage nurses will evaluate each patient and determine the general severity of illness or injury. Because our first priority is to save lives, the most severely injured or ill patients will be seen first. Also, patients may be waiting for a specific treatment room, diagnostic test, lab result, or a return phone call from the persona physician or insurance company. If asked to wait but begin to feel worse, please tell the triage nurse right away.
Is paperwork more important than care?
We will never delay care to complete paperwork. The registration interview is a very important part of the visit. Our patient services representative must create/identify the patient history file that will issue a medical record number and account number specific to the patient. These numbers are then sent electronically to the Laboratory, Medical Imaging (X-ray), Blood Bank and remain the patient's specific lifetime numbers. It is important that these professionals take the time to enter the information accurately. Our Health Information Management Services (Medical Records) department will maintain all records related to this visit for many years.
Why can’t patients eat or drink while waiting?
Patients might be asked to refrain from eating or drinking because their physical condition may require testing or surgery. After the physician completes the evaluation, please check with the physician or the nurse about eating or drinking.
How long does treatment take?
If the patient has a complicated health problem, they may be in the Emergency department for many hours. Individual health problem may require numerous tests and the doctor may need to consult with specialists.
If a patient's illness or injury is life-threatening, it may take several hours to stabilize the condition. There are many services available in the Emergency department, but the number of patients needing these services may also create a delay.
If a patient has a serious illness or injury, such as a heart attack or stroke, they may need to be admitted to the hospital for ongoing care.
In the event that the hospital is full, there may be a delay until a room becomes available. Patients will be cared for in the Emergency department until their room is ready.
Why did it appear that the staff did not look busy?
The structure of our department fosters a private, calm and tranquil setting. Acutely ill or injured patients are seen in treatment rooms, and the doors are kept closed for privacy and confidentiality. We strive to create and maintain a comforting environment and are trained to handle emergency situations calmly and professionally.
How can patients get their medical records?
Patients can pick up copies of their medical records from Health Information Management services (Medical Records). Please call in advance, so the records can be prepared for in advance. Patients will need to sign a release of information form before receiving the records. Our department is located in the basement and can be reached by calling (307) 532-4181.
X-rays can be picked up from the Medical Imaging. Our Medical Imaging department is located across from the Emergency Room and can be reached by calling (307) 532-4181.
Why can’t you tell me what this will cost?
Your chief complaint is a start. We cannot tell you exactly what the estimated cost will be. After the physician evaluation occurs he or she dictates a report describing your care. Once the report is transcribed, charges are electronically posted to your account. The charges can be obtained in about 2-3 days after your visit.
Who can help me if I have a concern or would like to comment about my care in the Emergency department?
We welcome your questions and concerns - they help us improve our care. If you do not feel comfortable talking with the staff members who treat you, you can speak with the Service Excellence coordinator, clinical manager or Emergency department director.
Why can't I get any medical advice or information over the phone when I call?
In compliance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and in and effort to maintain the safety and confidentiality of patients being treated in the Emergency department, we will not provide information regarding whether or not a patient is here, specific treatment provided, or discharge plans. If you know a specific person is being treated in the Emergency department, you may ask for them and they can provide the information as requested.
Unlike your primary doctor, the Emergency department staff is not familiar with your medical history, general health, or health care concerns; therefore we cannot provide accurate information related to treatment or diagnosis over the phone. We will always be glad to see you in person in the Emergency department.