UT/The MED Participate in National Initiative to Study Emergency Room

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The Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The MED) and the UT Center on Health Disparities have been selected to participate in The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Urgent Matters national program.

The Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The MED) and the UT Center on Health Disparities have been selected to participate in The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Urgent Matters national program.

Urgent Matters is a new initiative launched to help hospitals eliminate emergency department crowding and raise awareness in local communities about the challenges facing the healthcare safety net (the network of providers of low-cost or free medical care to people who are uninsured or underinsured).

Emergency department crowding will be studied at The MED. The Center on Health Disparities will be responsible for planning community activities and pulling community organizations and healthcare leaders together to assess the local healthcare safety net. The findings will then be used to develop an action plan to strengthen and improve care for the uninsured and underserved residents in the communities served by The MED.

The UT activities will be led by Dr. Alicia McClary, director of community outreach and education in the UT Center on Health Disparities.

“The Urgent Matters project provides an exciting opportunity for healthcare providers and the community to work together in raising public awareness of the many challenges currently impacting emergency department admissions, care and outcomes,” said Dr. McClary.

The RWJF selected 10 hospital systems across the country. The program is based at George Washington’s Center for Health Services Research and Policy in the School of Public Health and Health Services.

“We chose hospital systems that understand the dimensions of the safety net problems in their own communities and how it affects their own emergency departments,” said Pamela Dickson, senior program officer at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We are confident that these grantees will find innovative ways to improve their emergency department operations that will in turn raise the quality of healthcare being delivered to the community.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted exclusively to health and healthcare. Its grantmaking is concentrated in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to quality healthcare at reasonable cost; to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse — tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.