Emergency services

McPherson Hospital Emergency Department

In a medical emergency, immediate professional care is needed. McPherson Hospital’s emergency department is open and staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year, so we’re here whenever needed.

About the emergency department

We know that a visit to the emergency department can be stressful. Minutes seem like hours during uncomfortable and anxious moments. To treat patients in the emergency department, we use a sorting system called a triage, not a first-come/first-served order. This sorting process ensures that patients with the most serious injuries and conditions are treated first. For example, if a patient arrives with chest pain, he or she is treated before a patient who arrived earlier with a swollen ankle. Heart attacks have priority over earaches, and complicated fractures are treated before small cuts. During triage, we assess the patient to determine what level of care is needed on a scale of 1 to 5.

When you arrive

In a life-threatening situation, we will take the patient directly to a treatment area and begin care immediately. Otherwise, a triage nurse will ask about symptoms and medical problems and might need to take blood pressure, temperature and pulse to determine what care might be needed.

Patient registration is conducted by taking the patient’s name, address, phone number, employer and insurance policy number for the medical record and to help us bill insurance.

Waiting to be treated

We make every attempt to keep waiting times as short as possible. Our emergency department treats about 800 patients each month, and even when there are no patients visible from the waiting area, there often are several in the treatment rooms. With such volume, sometimes the wait for treatment is longer than we like. If the patient’s condition changes while waiting, please let the front desk clerk know immediately. Take comfort in knowing that our fullest attention is given when being treated.

If a family member or friend is waiting, he or she might wish to use the vending machines or watch television to help pass the time. During the day, the hospital cafeteria is open and serves hot food at the breakfast and lunch hours in addition to coffee, tea, salads and cold foods all day.

Treatment in the emergency department

A nurse evaluates the patient’s condition, medical history, current medications and drug allergies. Then one of our physicians will assess the problem, discuss a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment. Sometimes he or she might order diagnostic tests or a specialist consultation. We screen all patients for domestic violence, smoking, alcohol and drug use. We will provide referrals if you would like assistance with any of these issues.

During treatment, patients may have one person in their company, and other friends or family members may remain in the waiting area. Because patient confidentiality and privacy are important to us, there might be times when we ask visitors to step out of the room and wait elsewhere. We will keep visitors informed as requested.

When treatment is completed

If the physician believes a patient should be admitted to the hospital, he or she will discuss this process and make the necessary arrangements. If the physician determines that a patient can be discharged, a physician or a nurse will review written instructions regarding any necessary medications and home care. He or she might refer the patient back to their personal physician or another for follow-up care. We can contact the patient’s primary physician if requested.

Questions about billing

Often patients are concerned about payment arrangements for emergency department services. Most health insurance companies partially cover the cost of emergency treatment, and we will submit a claim to insurers when we have billing information. Many insurance companies charge a co-pay fee for services. The patient might receive bills at a later date for the doctor’s services or any medications or diagnostic tests received in the emergency department. Insurance coverage differs from company to company and person to person, so please check with insurer.

If the patient doesn’t have medical insurance or has coverage for only part of the expenses, they might be eligible for financial assistance. Please ask our registration department for assistance. McPherson Hospital treats everyone who requires care, regardless of ability to pay.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Responding to approximately 2,000 yearly calls for assistance, including 800 trauma accidents, is an important responsibility that McPherson EMS is proud to carry. Highly trained paramedics and emergency medical technicians use modern technology and techniques to provide advanced life support and administer to the community's emergency medical needs.

McPherson EMS also provides: 

  • Acute care and intensive care transfers from hospital to hospital
  • Emergency care at community events
  • Hundreds of hours of injury prevention education and CPR training to the public