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New emergency care option opening in Bellevue

Board-certified team aims to maximize care and education, minimize wait times, costs

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February 21, 2024

BELLEVUE — Greater Green Bay will soon have another choice for emergency medical services, with the opening of Green Bay ER & Hospital at 2465 Monroe Road in Bellevue.

Chief Medical Officer Matthew Freeman said the 24-hour facility is on track to accept patients by mid-March.

Once open, Freeman said the provider team will treat patients with what he said are top-of-the-line equipment and life-stabilizing services.

“We have eight emergency room beds and six inpatient beds,” he said. “On site, we have a moderate complexity lab, in which we can perform almost any test you would need in the emergency setting. We also have onsite X-rays, CTs, MRIs and ultrasounds. We’re able to perform these services efficiently, and we’re eager and excited to be a part of the community and offer something unique. We have a much different, passionate vision.”

Connection and competence
Chief Operating Officer Amanda Nuylund said there isn’t an emergency Green Bay ER & Hospital can’t treat.

“We’re all ER board-certified physicians and nurses,” she said.

With that said, Freeman said what makes Green Bay ER & Hospital exceptional is its business model, which allows staff to overcome inefficiencies they’ve witnessed while practicing medicine at previous, larger hospital systems.

“I saw a lot of behaviors I thought were fantastic that I want to bring to this facility and recreate,” he said. “But I also saw a lot of opportunity for improvement.”

Freeman said Green Bay ER & Hospital’s corporate partner is Nutex Health based out of Houston, Texas — this will be the third such Nutex-partnered facility he has helped to establish. He said he intends to work at this location indefinitely.

Freeman said these facilities’ superior patient care starts with a personally selected and highly connected team.

That connection, he said, stems from the way each facility’s leaders — in this case, himself and Nuylund — work alongside the physicians rather than simply overseeing them.

“It enables us, as the administrative team, to keep a constant finger on the pulse of what’s going on within this facility — to see what we’re doing well and respond and try to recreate it — but also to see the things we can improve upon. Instead of having to rely upon an administrative team that lives in a different state or is multiple floors above you, we can decide with the snap of our fingers, just from daily conversation with the team.”

Facility Administrator Sonja Hansen said the staff appreciates such a uniquely tight-knit environment.

“It’s inspiring,” Hansen said. “To be a part of that team is more enticing — to be a family here. You have your smaller group of people — everybody knows everybody.”

The staff said the familial aspect isn’t entirely figurative at Green Bay ER & Hospital either, as the opportunity sees Freeman teaming up with sister Michelle Petersen, the facility’s chief nursing officer.

Nurse Lead Bridgette Dollhopf said Green Bay ER & Hospital’s approach and level of care is what sets it apart. Submitted Photo

“Michelle has worked in many facets of medicine, from ICU nurse to working as a nurse practitioner, gastroenterology, primary care medicine and emergency medicine,” Freeman said. “She’s worn a lot of hats.”

Petersen said their family is close, so she and Freeman’s mother is especially excited to have the two working together, and not far from their hometown of Chicago.

Petersen said she had most recently been living and working as a nurse practitioner near Manitowoc, which made the reunion all the more reasonable.

The family frequently traveled from Chicago to visit relatives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Freeman said.

All the subsequent time he spent in Wisconsin, he said, would eventually influence him to recommend the Green Bay area to Nutex as a candidate for a facility.

Nuyland said her connection to this team came from working with Freeman previously in her (and Nutex’s) home state — Texas.

“I’d done some more projects in this type of medicine in Texas, so more concierge based, more patience focused, low wait time and high quality,” she said. “So, when (Freeman) said this was the first (facility) of its kind in Wisconsin — he and (Petersen) were the two original people I spoke to about it. It was a no-brainer to be involved.”

In building the team for Green Bay ER & Hospital, Freeman said he sought highly competent, communicative and experienced individuals.

“We’re not fresh-out-of-residency-type physicians,” he said. “We’ve lived and worked in the larger hospital systems, and it’s created our unique set of skills to provide that different level of concierge care which is our main focus.”

An alternate approach
Built off the team’s chemistry and experience, the staff said it’s that level of care that truly helps Green Bay ER & Hospital’s approach stand out.

“It’s patient-centered care,” Nurse Lead Bridgette Dollhopf said. “They’re a patient — they’re not a number.”

Freeman said when people come to the emergency department, they’re extraordinarily vulnerable.

“Our focus, collectively, will be to lessen that to any degree we can, within our power,” he said. “From the smiling face at the front desk, (to) the nurse who will take your vital signs (to) the doctor who’s going to sit at your bedside and go over your results.”

Green Bay ER staff said the care doesn’t simply end with a visit.

Though Nuylund said nationwide, 80% of emergency department patients are discharged and do not require inpatient services, 100% of Green Bay ER patients will be contacted by staff after their stay.

“Every patient who visits our facility will be called within 48 hours by the physician who cared for them during the initial visit, to see exactly how they’re progressing, to make sure things aren’t worsening and to make sure they have the knowledge they need to take the appropriate next steps,” Freeman said. “Patient follow-up is huge.”

Business Development Manager Marla Sparks said this follow-up policy is unique to Green Bay ER & Hospital.

“In a (typical) emergency setting, they’re going to say, ‘if you are worried about it you can come back and check in and be seen again,'” Sparks said.

This lack of follow-up and clear instructions, Petersen said, often leads to ongoing issues for patients, leading to mounting frustration all around.

“If the problem isn’t resolved, they have no recourse but to go back to the emergency room,” she said. “So, there’s a vicious cycle in a broken system.”

Rather than perpetuate this cycle, Hansen said, Green Bay ER & Hospital takes the extra step to contact any necessary primary care providers or medical specialists on patients’ behalf.

“After their care, part of it is the education, so they know what was wrong, they know the plan and they know in detail how to proceed forward,” she said. “Not just sending them out the door but setting up their follow-up appointment if that’s what they need.”

That extra step, Hansen said, is not common to the ER system.

She said it not only ensures follow-up for the patient that’s not only essential but faster, too.

“If (patients) need to see an orthopedic surgeon and they get sent out the door, they may not be able to get (an appointment) for two weeks, three weeks, a month,” she said. “If we make that appointment for them before they leave, that way can be faster because they’re getting that ER referral from a physician who is conversing with that particular specialist.”

Freeman said it’s more solidified — “definitely increases the probability they’re going to follow up appropriately.”

“It’s a lot easier for a physician to call another physician to establish follow-up versus a patient having to be their own advocate,” he said. “They’re going to be put to the back of the line with everyone else.”

Sparks said what sets Green Bay ER & Hospital apart is the coordination of care — whether it’s with specialists or primary care physicians.

“That’s so much stress reduced on the patient,” she said. “But also, I feel (it reduces stress for) the health system in general because we’re not having to utilize resources you may not need.”

Petersen said it’s because of the team’s collective experience with the big systems.

“We know how to tailor that experience to provide the best care,” she said.

Poor communication, Nuylund said, can sometimes lead patients to go “emergency room shopping.”

“They move from ER to ER because they’re not getting an answer, and they’re not getting education on what has been done to them, what tests have been done or what the next steps are,” she said. “I find that sad that’s the state of what people are left with.”

Nuylund said this leaves ER physicians having to make sense of inconsistent notes from the disconnected hospitals.

Green Bay ER & Hospital — located at 2465 Monroe Road in Bellevue — is on track to accept patients by mid-March. Submitted Photo

She said repeated ER visits can also needlessly contribute to what can be chronic problems for ERs — crowded wait rooms, excessive wait times, hallways full of hospital beds, cursory diagnoses, insufficient explanations and rushed discharges — all of which she said perpetuate this exasperating cycle.

Short wait times, the staff said, are among the greatest advantages Green Bay ER & Hospital will offer.

Part of Nutex facilities’ lower volume, Petersen said, is due to the decision to not bill Medicaid or Medicare, which would require being open to general ambulance traffic.

“That was a choice for our facility,” she said. “Somebody arriving in an ambulance bay is going to trump the patients who have walked in, and that sets up a lot of frustrations.”

Petersen said having relatively fewer patients means there’s no need to rank one emergency over another.

Rather, she said, it allows more time to validate every individual’s health concerns.

Freeman said the facility is open to all patients regardless of their insurance providers.

“Any individual who walks in the doors of our hospital will be seen by a nurse and will be evaluated by a doctor — 100%,” he said. “If they, together, determine there’s a life-threatening emergency going on with the patient who walked in, we take care of the patient. It’s our obligation and our pleasure.”

Freeman said Green Bay ER & Hospital takes pride in its open communication regarding patients’ options, for billing and otherwise.

“We try to empower patients with as much knowledge as they need to make an educated decision for themselves,” he said. “We assess them and talk about their options (regarding those who aren’t commercially insured). If they choose to stay at our facility, there are reasonable self-pay options to do so, and we’d be happy to take care of them if it’s agreeable.”

Nuylund said the facility’s fee-for-service prices are extremely competitive, and “much lower” than traditional hospitals.

She said having a small team means not having to pay for additional administrators and executives required by a larger operation.

Freeman said Green Bay ER & Hospital respects in-network benefits for every emergency patient, who is responsible for copay and whatever portion of their deductible remains.

He said patients are never pursued for any remaining balance following insurance reimbursement.

“You’ve probably heard the term ‘balance billing,'” he said. “That’s not something that’s practiced here. We don’t go after the patient individually for that sum. We will work with the insurance carrier to find a reimbursement we feel is fair, and that’s the end of the story.”

In light of the complications and issues throughout the industry, Freeman said he is excited yet reasonable about what the facility can offer.

“We’re not trying to solve this worldwide disaster as far as medical care is concerned, but we’re trying to do a small part to change things,” he said. “As great as the healthcare system is in this area ≠ñ and it’s fantastic. We have some astounding hospital systems that already exist here — we’re going to do our part to complement them the best we can and to offer something a little bit different.”

Eager to serve
As Green Bay ER & Hospital nears its opening date, the staff said they are excited to show the community what their small, yet passionate team can do.

“It’s important to be able to know what your resources are and be able to make an educated consumer choice as to what would be the best healthcare experience for you,” Petersen said. “I think we will appeal to a good subset of the population who is tired of the current status, the wait times and the lack of explanation and answers.”

Hansen said she’s ready for the parents to get to experience Green Bay ER & Hospital.

“(The staff) all want to get back to why we went into health care in the first place,” she said.

Freeman said his goal is to be at Green Bay ER & Hospital “indefinitely.”

“And in five years, 10 years, to be able to look back on this project with pride knowing we were able to have a team believe in us, in our vision and to take exceptional care of every individual who walks in this facility and puts trust in us for their health care,” he said. “It’s our dream and every intention of mine to make sure it’s fulfilled.”

Visit GreenBayER.com for more information.

Green Bay ER & Hospital is hosting a community open house Wednesday, March 13.

TBN
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