Bronson Hospital to Close Emergency Room Services

Bronson Methodist Hospital will be closing its satellite emergency department at Bronson Vicksburg Outpatient Center (BVOC) at the end of the year. All other services at the site will remain open, according to the System Director, Laura Howard.

The location has been experiencing a steady decline in the number of emergency patients it sees each year, as well as in the severity of illnesses and injuries it treats, Howard said.

For some time, ambulance traffic from south Kalamazoo County has been directed to Bronson Methodist Hospital’s Trauma and Emergency Center in Kalamazoo. Effective 4 PM on December 31, walk-in patients will also be directed there.

Bronson’s board of directors and executive team have been monitoring the slowdown in use of emergency services at BVOC for over a decade. They delayed closing the department until it was clear the trend was not reversing and south county residents could easily access emergency care in Kalamazoo.

Bronson will continue to provide outpatient services Monday through Friday at BVOC that are still actively being used by local physicians and patients. These include lab blood-draw and specimen collection service from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and radiology services from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

A total of 29 employees will be affected by this change. Bronson’s human resources team is working to inform them of other open positions in the system that they are qualified for and how to apply, Howard said.

The public relations department provided the following helpful answers.
Why can’t Bronson sustain emergency services at Vicksburg?

Each year, Bronson evaluates consumer demand for services against the resources it takes to provide those services.  In recent years, fewer people have been coming to the Vicksburg location for care and most of the visits have been for minor illness and injury which can be taken care of by primary care doctors, urgent care and walk-in clinics. It was no longer feasible for Bronson to continue to maintain the overhead costs of providing emergency services at a location that wasn’t being fully utilized when doctors, nurses and staff could be deployed to other Bronson sites that need them.

Did you consider making it urgent care?

We evaluated the idea and determined that the Vicksburg location would not be able to attract enough patients to cover the cost of providing the service. Bronson does provide walk-in immediate care service nearby in Portage. Bronson FastCare is located in the Meijer store at 5121 South Westnedge.

Lab Draws/Radiology services will now be sent to Kalamazoo. Will there be a delay in results getting to Vicksburg doctors?

Radiology continues to be available at Bronson Vicksburg with no service changes. The labs draw station currently utilizes a courier to transport lab specimens from Bronson Vicksburg to the main lab at Bronson Methodist Hospital twice daily, so most routine test results will continue to be provided electronically to Vicksburg doctors same day, just as they are now.

Describe the services that will still be at Bronson Vicksburg after 12/31/15.
These services will remain open and fully staffed:

Bronson Anticoagulation Center, open Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (269) 341-6156.

Bronson Outpatient Nutrition Services, open Wednesday by appointment only. Call (269) 341-6860 or visit bronsonhealth.com/diethelp.

Bronson Outpatient Rehabilitation, open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call (269) 544-3230 or visit bronsonhealth.com/rehab.

 

Bronson ProHealth, open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Call (269) 341-8938 or visit bronsonhealth.com/prohealth.

Bronson Outpatient Testing, open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Radiology services are available 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointments are necessary.

Does Bronson have other plans for the space being vacated by the emergency department?

We are exploring other uses for the space and will keep the community informed as potential uses are identified.

Because Bronson Vicksburg is not an inpatient facility, ambulance traffic and patients with life threatening conditions have been directed to Bronson Methodist Hospital for many years. If someone is experiencing a serious medical emergency, the recommendation is always to call 911.

This article was published by South County News on December 3, 2015. A link to the original article is available here.

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