Athens-Limestone Emergency Department is a Level III Trauma and Stroke Center in cooperation with the Alabama Trauma Communications Center (TCC). The Emergency Department is staffed 24/7 with physicians and nurse practitioners from Urgent and Emergent Care, a contracted physician group based in Hartselle, AL.
Whether you bring yourself, a family member brings you, or you are brought to the hospital by ambulance, you will first speak with a nurse about why you are here. The first nurse that you will speak with is called the triage nurse. He/she is the nurse that records why you are here, medications you take and important information about your past medical history. This nurse will assess the severity of your injury or illness based on a 5 level triage acuity scale, recommended by the Emergency Nurses Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians.
After triage you may be asked to wait in the emergency waiting room. You may wonder why you might be asked to wait for emergency care. Sometimes seriously ill patients or trauma victims with serious health problems or injuries require immediate and extensive treatment. Many of these patients arrive by ambulance and enter through the rear door of the emergency department. These are life-threatening situations and are priority for the emergency staff. It is important that you know patients are called into the treatment area based on severity of illness or injury - determined at triage. You may see patients who arrived later than you being treated before you. Rest assured that these decisions are carefully weighed, and we are considering everyone's best interest. All patients are important to us, but those with the most life-threatening or life-altering illnesses must be seen first.
Emergency Department Treatment
The Emergency Department has 15 treatment areas and 2 trauma rooms. You will be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner and may experience some or all of the following:
- Ongoing care by a nurse assigned to you
- Blood work that may take 1 hour or more to be completed
- X-rays or other diagnostic imaging tests which must be examined by the ED doctor as well as a Radiologist to make a determination before you will know the results
- An EKG Depending on these test results, you may need:
- IV fluids
- A visit from a specialist
- Stitches, Splints or Casts
- Admission to the hospital
- Possibly transfer to another hospital for a service not available here
All of these things take different amounts of time. The nurse that is caring for you can give you an idea of the length of time you can expect to wait and can update you as your visit progresses as to the status of your test results.
After you are in the treatment area, a registration clerk will come to the bedside to complete your registration. The clerk will collect insurance information and get consent forms signed. Before you leave, you will be asked for payment of your co-pay or to make arrangements for payment of your bill.
Explanation of Billing
You will receive separate bills for your ED visit. Claims are filed separately by Athens-Limestone Hospital (256-233-9110) and the Emergency Physician Group (1-877-404-8248).
Remember, this emergency department is available so we may help you and your loved ones when you need us most...When There Is A True Emergency.
Suzanne Johnson, Director of Emergency Services
700 West Market Street
Athens, Alabama 35611