Investments advance emergency medicine services at Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital

On July 16, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital’s (VWCH) Emergency Department will transition to become part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine. The VWCH Emergency Department has previously been staffed through physicians from a contracted agency.

The transition will involve VUMC hiring seven new emergency medicine physicians in addition to two who already practice at the hospital. Additional staffing at VWCH will be provided by physicians from the department who also work at Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital.

“This is an exciting time for Wilson County residents, VWCH, VUMC and the faculty and staff of the Department of Emergency Medicine. We look forward to serving the community by treating each patient who seeks emergency care with dignity and respect and by delivering the same high-quality care at all of our emergency departments,” said Erik Hess, MD, MSc, professor and chair of Emergency Medicine at VUMC.

In May, VUMC invested nearly $1 million to open a new ambulance base at VWCH, which included placing a Vanderbilt LifeFlight ambulance at the hospital to help serve non-emergency patients discharged from the hospital and for emergency and non-emergency transfers from VWCH to Nashville area hospitals.

The ambulance, which is equipped with advanced medical technology similar to what is found on LifeFlight’s critical care aircrafts, is now available at the hospital 24/7. This will allow for quicker discharges and transports for VWCH patients and supports the ambulance services of Wilson County Emergency Management Agency (WEMA) so they have more availability to respond to emergency calls.

VUMC recruited 10 full-time employees (five paramedics and five advanced emergency medical technicians) to staff the new base in addition to purchasing a new ambulance.

“We are heavily investing in new services and technology at VWCH to provide a level of service that patients have come to expect from Vanderbilt Health. These changes to our emergency services provide yet another example of Vanderbilt’s commitment to improving quality for Wilson County residents,” said Jay Hinesley, MHA, president of VWCH. “We are excited to be growing with the community and will continue our investments to meet the health needs of the region.”

VUMC’s Department of Emergency Medicine currently staffs more than 60 faculty physicians and cares for more than 130,000 patients annually. The department is nationally recognized for its leadership in education and research.

“Transitioning to Vanderbilt’s Emergency Medicine Department reflects Vanderbilt’s strong commitment to the citizens of Wilson County to continue providing outstanding care to patients and families throughout the region,” said R. Scott Frankenfield, MD, director of Emergency Services at VWCH. “Vanderbilt Emergency Medicine is one of the most nationally-renowned emergency departments. The community will receive that same top-notch care without having to leave Wilson County. I am honored to lead the Emergency Medicine team at VWCH.”

VUMC also is home to Middle Tennessee’s only Adult and Pediatric Level 1 Trauma Centers and the Vanderbilt Regional Burn Center. 

Photo by Anne Rayner