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Patient Coordination Center Opens at WRNMMC


Efforts Designed to Ease Patient Transfer, Experience at Medical Center​

By Bernard S. Little

WRNMMC Command Communications​

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center leadership and staff cut the ribbon to open the hospital's new Patient Coordination Center in Building 10 Jan. 8.

The PCC provides a one-call process for unplanned inpatient transfers from Walter Reed Bethesda clinics, Emergency Department and external facilities, according to Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Autumn Richards of the Directorate of Medicine at WRNMMC who championed efforts creating the center.

The center serves as "the hub for expedited admissions," according to Richards, a pediatrician. She added the PCC provides "a true one-call process increasing efficiency, eliminating administrative burden, improving the provider-and-patient experience and enhancing relationships with referring facilities."

Richards explained that it previously took on average of six calls per patient transfer into WRNMMC because of lack of integration and inefficiency, which caused frustration for all parties involved. The PCC now co-locates patient admission services to include the nursing officer-of-the-day and patient administration. She furthered that a pilot study of the PCC showed a 25 percent reduction in time per admission.

Robert Weiler, health care administrator in the Department of Patient Administration at WRNMMC, was also instrumental in creating the center. He explained a “multidisciplinary team of providers, administrators and information technology professionals worked diligently to fulfill the vision articulated by Dr. Paul Florentino many years ago [of] a Provider One Call system. [This would mean] a provider outside of our facility could make one phone call to speak with our providers and have a patient accepted for care. We are rapidly approaching that day here,” he furthered.

Weiler added the PCC will be staffed “24/7/365 with an administrative facilitator and the NoD. “During normal working hours, there will also be support from our External Programs Office (EPROs). This trained team will receive calls from outside providers, facilitate a conversation with one or more of our providers and coordinate the needs of getting our beneficiaries back into our facility,” he explained.

“With the opening of our PCC, we continue to move forward with improvements to our ability to provide world-class patient health care in a truly patient- and family-centered format,” Weiler added.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Navy Capt. (Dr.) Mark Kobelja, WRNMMC director, commended staff efforts within the hospital for their around-the-clock efforts. He called operation of the hospital a 24-7 endeavor that includes many team players. Those include staff in the emergency department, on the wards, in critical care units, the blood bank, laboratories and other places at the medical center who work as a team with PAD and provide services essential for patient safety and quality care. “The PCC is [now a] part of that effort,” he added.

He called the PCC “a great initiative” which was generated by staff and not directed by leadership. “This was our people saying, ‘We have to do better [for those we serve]. I hope all of you are inspired by that and go back to your areas and ask yourself and team, ‘How can we do it better?’”

The PCC is located in the Patient Administration Department on the first floor of Building 10. Calls are connected with the PCC via Provider One Call at 866-NMMC-DOC (866-666-2362).​