SEATTLE, May 13, 2010 – Swedish this month launches the Employer Medical Assistance (EMA) program designed specifically for companies in heavy manufacturing, construction, marine services, fishing, transportation, firefighting, aviation and related industries. It is the first of its kind in the region.
Located on the Swedish Ballard campus at 5300 Tallman Ave. N.W. in Seattle, the new service is a logical outgrowth of the non-profit health system’s Maritime Medical Management practice, which started in the summer of 2009. EMA incorporates specialty care, diagnostics, emergency services and needed medical solutions for a broader range of injured or ill workers – all tied to the recently updated Swedish Business Health Link employee drug/alcohol testing service and a soon-to-be-added occupational health component.
“Through EMA, employers can get expedited access to the extensive Swedish provider network and have their key people back to work quicker and healthier than in the past,” said Rayburn Lewis, M.D., executive director of Swedish Ballard.
Among other services, EMA provides emergency-room treatment with wait times much shorter than the national average, access to the largest and most comprehensive surgery program in the region, quick referrals to medical specialists and sub-specialists in cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, rehabilitation and many other fields. EMA patients can be treated at any of Swedish’s three medical centers or four emergency departments, as well as at more than 40 primary- and specialty-care clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area. Supporting the current referral system, EMA works with the regional trauma centers where seriously injured patients are treated and maintain communications with the respective employers.
“An employee injured in a factory or on a factory trawler is usually seen first by an EMS provider,” said Dr. Lewis, who has more than 25 years of experience in direct care and administration of programs for injured workers. “After that, the worker often needs rapid, uncomplicated access to specialists.”
Swedish is rolling out the EMA concept to many large employers in the region. “We’re talking with organizations that have high-risk jobs and staff who might be somewhat isolated by the nature of their work,” said Laura Walden, EMA business development specialist. “We’ve had great interest from company medical directors, human resource executives, claim management adjusters, safety and risk managers who like that we’ll see their people quickly and give the employers timely status updates.”
Seattle-based Aasgard Summit Management Services, a comprehensive claims- and risk-management consulting company serving the marine and transportation industries that has utilized the service for their maritime claims since last year. “The primary benefit of EMA is that we can streamline the effective medical care of an injured person. The sooner we can get that employee treated, the better for all concerned,” said Aasgard Summit Management Services President Steve Kennebeck. “Expedited appointments are critically important in cases of work-related injuries because routine delays in treatment are reduced and the person is set on the road to recovery that much sooner.”
In addition to treating industrial workers, EMA works closely with several cruise lines with ports of call in Seattle. Passengers, officers or crew needing medical attention can quickly get it through EMA. Noted Sally van Boheemen, R.N., director of Fleet Medical Operations for Holland America Line, “Swedish/Ballard has been a very receptive and helpful participant in the health care of our crew members and guests over the years. We’ve definitely benefited from the array of kind and compassionate physician specialists and clinicians available to us, quick responsiveness to our urgent needs, as well as excellent physician and nursing care from the moment a patient arrives.”
Swedish expects to treat 300 to 400 patients per year through the program. EMA bills the employer’s commercial insurance carrier for services provided. The program is based in Ballard because of its close proximity to maritime, ship repair and manufacturing plants and benefits from its seamless access to an extensive Swedish network located throughout the Greater Seattle area.
For more information, visit www.swedish.org/employerassistance or call 206-781-6008.
Established in 1910, Swedish has grown to become the largest, most comprehensive non-profit health-care provider in the Greater Seattle area over the last 100 years. It is comprised of three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – a freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center in Issaquah, Swedish Visiting Nurse Services, and the Swedish Physician Division – a network of more than 40 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area. This year, Swedish broke ground on a medical office building and ambulatory care center in Ballard, a new medical office building and hospital in the Issaquah Highlands (www.swedishissaquah.org), as well as a freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center in Redmond. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org and www.swedish100.org.