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Spotlight on High-Reliability International Transfer Centers

Going Global: How MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Helps Coordinate International Patient Care

Imagine yourself as an American citizen performing job responsibilities overseas, and suddenly you have an urgent or emergent medical need. What do you do? Who do you turn to?


MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is one of ten Hospitals within the MedStar Health System.  This not-for-profit Magnet® facility is in Northwest Washington D.C., is licensed for 609 acute care beds, and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a “high performing” hospital in nine clinical service areas.  Sharing an affiliation with Georgetown University, the healthcare team provides specialized services and healthcare primarily for the residents of Georgetown and the surrounding areas.  Since 2008, members of the healthcare team have been utilizing TeleTracking’s Capacity Management Suite™ and Custom Reporting Solution™ to assist in optimizing, managing, and measuring the delivery of care and patient flow strategies throughout the organization. In April 2018, they took their patient flow strategy to the next level by implementing TeleTracking’s TransferCenter™ to improve the coordination, management, and collection of data related to access for specialized care during inter-facility, inter-state, and international patient care transfers through their Physician Access Center.

Julia Brown BSN, RN has been employed at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital for the past 36 years and since 2003, performs her role as a nurse referral coordinator within the Physician Access Center. In this role, Julia is responsible for helping, guiding and linking physicians and patients within the community who are in need of access to specialized healthcare. Julia and her fellow nurse referral coordinators, field calls for transfers, facilitate outpatient appointments, and connect patients and providers for specialized consultative services within the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Historically, the formation of a relationship for fielding international patient care transfers involved the previous director of the Physician Access Center, who was approached by the dean of The School of Foreign Services.  At Georgetown University, the dean advised Julia’s former supervisor that American citizens working in foreign countries had “difficulty procuring appointments” during or following their overseas work commitments.  This feedback, along with a personal and professional commitment of providing an improved patient experience in accessing care, began a long and loyal relationship between MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s Physician Access Center and the Department of Medical Services for the Department of State of the United States Government.


International Transfer Center - MedStar Georgetown

Photo: MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Physician Access Center - Julia Brown, BSN, RN

Because of this collaboration, a formal line of communication now exists for overseas-assigned State Department employees and their families, resulting in many successful connections, consultations, and delivery of specialized care.  A dedicated email account and phone line have been established for access to Julia and the Physician Access Center once covered individuals have contacted their assigned embassy healthcare provider. When notified about the next step in the communication process, Julia and the nurse referral coordinators work tirelessly in coordinating the following services for international patient care:

  • Full acceptance for medevac health related emergencies
  • Full federal insurance coverage
  • Routine clinic and office visits for employees returning from overseas duties
  • Specialized orthopedic oncology, cardiothoracic, and limb-salvage care
  • Family assistive lodging and other federally supported benefits

As patients progress through their plan of care, Julia maintains vigilant contact (independent of the length of treatment), tracking and coordinating visits, medical treatments, and care throughout their course of recovery.  

In addition to providing these much-needed services to State Department employees and their families, the Physician Access Center is also involved in requests of inter-continental transfers for non-US citizens who need the specialized services provided at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Typically, these requests originate through International Services and require extensive coordination of language and communication channels, consultation, and approval processes related to border access, politics, and payment authorizations.  Although the occurrence of these transfer requests is lower, the time, effort, and management of these requests often challenges the teams’ resources and availability for necessary responsibilities of the nurse referral coordinators. However, the team is confident that TeleTracking TransferCenter™, will continue to assist them in all avenues of data recording and collection, along with the monitoring of the multitude of transfer requests into MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

More about this blog post

About the Expert


Marc Mione

Marc Mione, RN

Senior Client Success Manager

Marc is a Senior Client Success Manager at TeleTracking and has been a licensed Registered Nurse for 26 years.  Prior to joining TeleTracking, Marc held the position as a Nurse Executive with oversight of Clinical Support Services and performance improvement projects related to patient flow and transfer center operations. Marc has held clinical and leadership positions as a Nurse in the Emergency Department, Trauma/Neuro ICU, and CardioVascular and NeuroInterventional Radiology and as a Clinical Liaison to Bed Management.

More information about this resource

Categories
Patient Access, Hospital Command Center, Patient Flow Experts, Client Success
Media Type
Blog
Roles
Clinician, Operations

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