There’s never a good time for a medical emergency. But for those who live in and around Cullman, it’s good to know that Cullman Regional Emergency Services are here when you need us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our staff includes board-certified emergency medicine physicians, physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners and registered nurses in order to provide you with the best care possible.
The Emergency Services Center provides 24 treatment rooms, including a dedicated trauma room, and facilities and staff for our Chest Pain Center and Stroke Center. Our goal is to always provide convenient, compassionate and high quality emergency care and expertise.
While it is always our intent to provide quality care in a timely manner for all patients, there are times when we experience a higher volume of patients than normal. During these times, your wait time may increase. Patients are seen immediately if experiencing health issues that present a significant threat to life or limb – such as chest pain, possible stroke and severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. If your condition changes or worsens while waiting, please let us know.
When emergencies happen, the compassionate, experienced emergency care team at Cullman Regional is ready to help. Our Emergency Services physicians, physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners and nurses have specialized training in emergency medical care. While not usually providing long-term or continuing care, our board-certified emergency medicine physicians are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of sudden illnesses or injuries, in acute interventions to stabilize the patient and collaborate with specialists when needed.
We partner with Island Medical Management Group to create our staff of highly skilled emergency medical physicians. All staff members are trained in disaster preparedness and emergency management, with special training on the hospital incident command system (HICS). Our nurses are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and in stroke care with the American Heart Association’s Stroke Certification. Many of our nurses hold additional certifications including certified emergency nurse, certified clinical nurse specialist, trauma nurse, neonatal resuscitation, emergency pediatric nurse, basic trauma life support, and certification by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
When to Call 911
Sometimes driving yourself or a loved one to the emergency room is not the best option. Do not drive if you are having severe chest pain or bleeding, if you feel like you may faint or if your vision is impaired. If in doubt, you should call 9-1-1.
For certain medical emergencies, including heart attack and stroke, an ambulance is the best option for transportation to the hospital because paramedics can begin life-saving care on the way.
Click here for more information on our EMS (ambulance) services.
In Case of Emergency
It’s important to be prepared for an emergency at all times. To facilitate treatment, keep and bring with you the following information:
- Photo ID
- Insurance card
- Name and telephone number of your primary care physician
- Name and telephone number of your next of kin
- A list of medications and drug allergies
- Past medical history and surgeries
- Advance Directives: Living Wills, Do-Not-Resuscitate orders, Power of Attorney, etc.
How to Know Where to Go
Often, urgent care is the most appropriate and efficient option for care for your illness or injury. But how do you know whether to visit the hospital emergency room or an urgent care clinic? Knowing the difference and where to seek treatment could save your life in an emergency.
Emergency Departments are designed to provide fast life-or-limb-saving care. Many people seek urgent care there as well. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s better to be safe and go to the closest emergency room.
Cullman Regional ExpressCare
We are a six-bed unit located within the Cullman Regional Emergency Services Center and designed to treat non-emergency patients. ExpressCare is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week, and is staffed by a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, a registered nurse and an ER patient care technician.
ExpressCare aims to decrease the visit time for non-emergency ER patients. Emergency cases may be seen in this area at the staff’s discretion. Treatment is provided in collaboration with the emergency physician on duty.
Patients seen in the ExpressCare area enter and are triaged through the main Emergency Services entrance to determine the severity of illness before being moved to this area.
After You Return Home
Following your discharge instructions is important to your recovery and could prevent another visit to the emergency room (ER). Any prescriptions you receive should be filled promptly and taken as directed. The pharmacist can answer questions you may still have about your medication.
Should you experience a complication, call your personal physician or return to the ER. Also, remember to make an appointment with your physician or the physician provided to you for follow-up care to make sure that your injury or illness is healing.
Trauma Prevention Program
To educate teen drivers about the risks of reckless driving, Cullman Regional partnered with the local courts to create the Trauma Prevention Program. It is a court-appointed, one-day interactive educational experience for adolescents with minor driving offenses and is open to the community as class space allows. Upon successful completion of the program, teenagers can have first-time tickets removed from their driving records after paying court costs.
Awards and Programs
Several recognitions reflect the quality of care you’ll find here and the caliber of our team members who stand ready to care for you in the case of an emergency.
- The Pegasus Emergency Room Award recognizes Core Measure Quality Performance, Best Length of Stay, and Lowest “Left without Being Seen” measures among all Pegasus Group hospitals.
- The Cullman Regional Team Excellence Award recognizes those who embrace the Excellence philosophy that supports education and research to enhance performance and continuously improve ourselves and others by continuing to learn. Emergency Services was awarded in 2009 for employee development, clinical quality, and customer satisfaction.
- The Cullman Regional Team Guest Excellence for Respect award recognizes teams that respect the value and dignity of guests and team members.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a triage nurse?
A triage nurse is responsible for assessing all patients upon arrival to the public entrance of the Emergency Services Center. He or she will use skills taught to them during their long educational training to determine the order in which patients should be seen, based on the severity of their illness/injury. It is possible that serious patients may arrive after you but are given priority over patients with less severe conditions. Conditions severe in nature may include:
- Bleeding that is uncontrolled
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart conditions
- Overdoses of medication
If your condition changes while you are waiting, please ask the triage nurse to re-evaluate your condition. We want all patients to receive the best care possible in the shortest amount of time.
If the waiting room is fairly empty, why am I waiting?
We have experienced increased numbers of patients brought in by ambulance. Many of these patients are from accidents, nursing homes and other facilities. It is not uncommon to receive two or more patients in one ambulance from an accident or to receive multiple patient transfers each shift from other facilities. The ambulance entrance is separate from the public entrance, so you may be unaware of the number of patients that have come into the hospital by ambulance.
The doctor ordered tests. What is the wait?
Lab tests vary greatly in complexity. Some tests are time-consuming and can take up to an hour to complete. Diagnostic imaging, or x-rays, usually can be obtained in a short period of time; however, the test then goes to a radiologist for interpretation, which may take time. Please be aware that we monitor ourselves constantly. Our goal is to provide care to help resolve your condition or injury and care that will have you back at home or admitted to the hospital in the shortest amount of time possible.
What should I bring to the ER?
Bring your most recent prescription bottles, insurance cards, a list of past medical history including surgeries, and other important information that would expedite your emergency care.
Why didn’t I see a doctor?
The Cullman Regional Emergency Services Center is staffed with a board-certified emergency medicine physician 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as a physician assistant or certified nurse practitioner from 12 noon to 12 midnight in the main emergency department and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in ExpressCare. All treatment in the Emergency Department is done in collaboration with of the emergency physician on duty.
Why did I have to wait so long?
It is our goal to bring you to the treatment area immediately after triage, if a bed is available. Wait times vary based on your presenting complaint. Patients with more emergent life- or limb-threatening conditions are seen first. Care requiring lab, x-ray or IV fluids may have an extended treatment time in the emergency department. If you have lab work, you can expect to stay at least an hour after the blood is obtained. If you require radiology studies, especially a CT scan, you can expect to stay at least two hours. Patients requiring hospital admission may wait three to four hours before getting to your hospital room.
Why did you take someone who arrived after me back for treatment before me?
Patients are seen based on presenting complaint and severity, not based on arrival time. Critically ill patients will be brought to the treatment area ahead of non-urgent patients. All patients who come in on their own accord or with a friend or family member are triaged upon arrival to ensure that those who need immediate medical attention are seen first.
Why did I receive more than one bill?
In order to provide the best patient care in the most efficient manner possible, Cullman Regional has partnered with Island Medical Management, Birmingham Radiology Group and Cunningham Pathology Group to provide the physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in the ER, radiologists in Diagnostic Imaging and pathologists in the Laboratory. Patients receiving services by these providers will receive two or more bills.
- Cullman Regional bill: Your hospital bill reflects all services you received during your visit, including your room, nursing care, housekeeping, and/or any special service charges which may include items your physician orders for you, such as X-rays or laboratory tests, supplies, drugs, etc.
- Physician Services bill: You may receive bills from physicians you did not see in person. These are for professional services rendered by these doctors in diagnosing and interpreting test results while you were a patient. Pathologists, radiologists, cardiologists, anesthesiologists and other specialists perform these services and are required to submit separate bills. If you have questions about these bills, please call the number printed on the statement you received.