TMC’s top emergency doc insists award is a team effort

Dr. Rich Rosenthal TMC Emergency Department medical director

Dr. Rich Rosenthal
TMC Emergency Department medical director

TMC’s Emergency Department medical director, Dr. Richard Rosenthal, was honored as Emergency Physician of the Year for 2014 from EmCare, the nation’s leading national practice management company. Dr. Rosenthal was awarded the Commitment to Care Award for emergency medicine, and was selected from more than 10,000 affiliated clinicians. He was selected because he embodies EmCare’s mission of making health care work better.

A press release issued by EmCare said Dr. Rosenthal received the award because of his commitment and implementation to lean methodologies, which helped guide TMC’s emergency and pediatric emergency departments to improved and sustained quality metrics.

“Awards are nice, and certainly appreciated,” said Dr. Rosenthal. “But it is our team here – the nurse managers, the pediatric emergency medical director, and a fantastic, dedicated administration that allows us to work together to improve the processes and improve the care we deliver.”

Dr. Rosenthal said his team continually works on improving the patient experience by decreasing wait times and the total amount of time a patient spends in TMC’s Emergency Department.

Some highlights of TMC’s Emergency Department improvements include:

▪ The wait time to see a physician decreased 48 percent down to an average of 37 minutes, according to data from July 2012 to December 2013.

▪ Patient satisfaction scores increased by more than 43 percent from July 2012 to March 2014.

▪ During the same time frame, more TMC Emergency Department patients reported they felt their physician cared about them as a person. TMC was ranked in the 99th percentile for this patient satisfaction question.

In TMC’s Pediatric Emergency Department:

▪ Patients are triaged an average of 13 minutes after they arrive.

▪ On average, children are consistently treated and released in less than two hours.

▪ Patient satisfaction scores have consistently run in the 80th to 90th percentile.

“While some major changes have been made in TMC’s Emergency and Pediatric Emergency departments, which have led to successful outcomes, we will continue to work on improving our service and increasing patient satisfaction,” Dr. Rosenthal said.

That dedication and commitment to improving care for the community is one of the reasons Dr. Rosenthal was selected as EmCare’s Emergency Physician of the Year.

“So many of our physician leaders do so much more than their physician job duties or their leadership job duties require. They help their communities; they help people outside of their communities. They offer outstanding patient care while improving operations for their organizations. We feel an obligation to recognize these outstanding clinicians in a grand way, in front of all of their peers,” said Dr. Dighton Packard, EmCare’s chief medical officer.

“We established an awards program to honor these physicians who really go above and beyond their job duties every day, while inspiring others to do the same,” said Todd Zimmerman, EmCare president and CEO.

TMC Pediatric Emergency Department Returns Home Oct. 2

On Oct. 2, the TMC Pediatric Emergency Department will return to its original location near regular Emergency – where it first opened on Dec. 1, 2001.  The department was originally moved to make way for construction of the new TMC Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower. Over the last several months, crews have taken the opportunity to give the department a face-lift, adding new flooring and paint.

The newly reopened department will have a dedicated arrival desk for children. There, a registration associate will ask for their name, date-of-birth and chief complaint. A pediatric nurse will be sitting in that area also to monitor the lobby and visualize children arriving.  After check in, patients will be taken to the triage area.

As always, 15 beds are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with practitioners trained in pediatric and emergency medicine.

New Sensory Integration Room to Open in Pediatric Emergency Department

When the Pediatric Emergency Department opens next week on Oct. 2, one of most notable changes will be the addition of a sensory integration room. The room, which is designed for babies born with substance addictions and children with sensory processing disorders, autism and ADHD, came about as a result of a suggestion from various staff members as well as the TMC Pediatric Family Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of TMC staff members, physicians and patient families and meets once a month with the goal of improving the facilities, processes and care given to pediatric patients at TMC.

“We have been very fortunate to work with a family on the parent advisory committee who is passionate about helping us design a room that will be available to patients and their family in an effort to continue their routine while in an unexpected situation,” explains Melissa Moreno, Director of Emergency Services.

For children with sensory integration disorders, an unknown and busy emergency department can be a scary world of unfamiliar strangers, strange smells, and unbalancing movements. For a parent, the resulting melt-down can be frustrating and taxing. For the child it can be terrifying and traumatic.

In order to create a calming space for these children, the new room is a muted color with minimal wall art to decrease stimulation. Additionally, there will be various things available in the room to help pass the time including bean bags for them to sit on, therapy mats to lie on, squeeze balls, sensory balls of various shapes and textures, books, Legos and toys. For special procedures, the room will be equipped with weighted vests and blankets that provide calming and constant pressure.

“We understand that parents don’t plan to come to the emergency department, and when they are faced with a situation in which they have to, their child is in an environment that can cause additional anxiety for both the child and the parent,” Moreno said. “Creating this room just felt like the right thing to do for our pediatric patients and their families.”


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461