The Emergency Department at District One Hospital in Faribault began contracting with a new emergency care staffing provider as of Sept. 1.

North Memorial Health staffed District One Hospital’s Emergency Department for 15 years. Last year, North Memorial stopped providing staff to rural emergency rooms.

District One Hospital staff operated in the Emergency Department after its contract with North Memorial ended in June 2017. Dr. Amy Elliott, director of medical affairs for Faribault, said internally staffing the Emergency Department worked fine for the time being, but the hospital wanted to follow current standards. As a result, District One has signed a contract with Minneapolis-based Emergency Care Consultants (ECC) to manage its ED and provide physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

“ECC brings a lot to our community,” said Dawn Steffen, patient care manager of the Emergency Department. “They’re very engaged in providing excellent patient care. The nurses have been really pleased with the transition of these providers. The teamwork and the communication with ECC has been wonderful – very high quality.”

Elliott said a couple of District One’s doctors who worked in the Emergency Department prior to the transition now work with the ECC staff. Others have gone on to work at other health care facilities. Some doctors previously working for North Memorial Health at District One have returned to Faribault, but under the hospital’s agreement with ECC.

“[ECC] brought on quality staff who work here and in the cities, so they have experience with different kinds of emergency conditions,” said Elliott.

In addition to District One in Faribault, ECC also provides staff to other Allina Health facilities in Minnesota: Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, United Hospital in St. Paul, Regina Hospital in Hastings and WestHealth Outpatient Center in Plymouth. In Wisconsin, ECC also staffs River Falls Area Hospital in River Falls.

Although Owatonna Hospital is an Allina Health facility, Elliott said it primarily employs Mayo Clinic staff and doesn’t collaborate with Faribault District One to contract employees. Therefore, Owatonna Hospital follows a different emergency care model.

Dr. Tom Horejsi, ECC medical director for Emergency Department, began working with District One Hospital in early July. Steffen said having Horejsi on board before the providers joined the staff Sept 1 made for a smoother transition.

“[ECC has] about eight positions that do the bulk of the shift, but there are others who come in if someone is out sick or on vacation,” said Elliott.

According to Elliott, District One Hospital’s goal is to make the best clinical decisions by diagnosing patients correctly and providing them with the best treatment. She said the staff aims to ensure its standards of care align with larger hospitals. ECC’s experience with various emergency care situations and knowledge of technological advancements help District One meet patients’ needs with best practices, she said.

“When people walk through the doors [at District One Hospital], we try to care for them the way we would want our friends, neighbors, and family cared for,” said Elliott.

Added Steffen: “As always, it’s our goal to provide an exceptional customer experience for all of our patients in the community. Offering the compassion and care is very important to us.”

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-744-2551. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.

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