Meet Michigan Medicine: Admissions and Bed Coordination Center/Capacity Management

March 25, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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Every day, faculty and staff care for more than 1,000 inpatients at Michigan Medicine.

But how those patients find their way to Michigan Medicine — and their specific rooms within the hospitals — takes a dedicated team that works behind-the-scenes to make sure every individual gets the best care possible.

Here’s what you may not know about the Admissions and Bed Coordination Center/Capacity Management (ABCC), a group that puts the right patients on the right unit at the right time.

Controlling patient traffic

Nearly every day, the hospitals at Michigan Medicine are considered to be at “high occupancy,” with more than 90 percent of beds filled by patients receiving care. At the same time, hundreds of patients pass through the emergency departments and operating rooms daily, while others make requests to transfer in from outside hospitals.

“Our team acts as sort of air traffic control,” said Mehul Naik, associate director of the ABCC. “We look at what beds are available and which patients need them, and we then guide each patient into the right spot.”

ABCC is in charge of all beds at University Hospital and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and handles after-hours admissions at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center — that’s nearly 1,100 licensed beds in all.

“With a never-ending flow of patient traffic, both in and out of the medical center, we are in constant communication with staff members in each area,” Naik said. “Beds are scarce, so it takes a lot of problem-solving skills and logistical training to make sure nothing is overlooked and all of our patients get the care they need.”

A group effort

The ABCC is made up of three unique groups among its 42 employees: admission triage associates (ATAs), admission triage coordinators (ATCs) and patient flow coordinators (PFCs).

ATAs serve as the first contact for most bed assignment requests.

For instance, once a Michigan Medicine physician indicates that a patient in the emergency department is in need of a room, ATAs are called and spring into action. They will review physician orders, which will then allow them to locate an appropriate placement with the help of an automated bed tracking system. They will do the same for patients to be admitted after a scheduled surgery or procedure. Some patients may need to be assigned to a specific floor that specializes in certain ailments (such as oncology), while others can go to general medicine units.

ATCs, meanwhile, facilitate transfers from outside hospitals.

“One of our coordinators will work with the Admitting Officer of the Day to determine if a patient will be accepted at Michigan Medicine,” said Christine La Londe, admission triage coordinator. “Once that’s decided, they will find a spot for the patient so that a bed is ready right when he or she arrives at the academic medical center.”

The coordinators also work with Survival Flight to find an intensive care bed for any incoming patients.

Finally, PFCs collaborate with individuals around the health system to make sure everything runs smoothly.

For example, they facilitate daily morning bed briefings, which involve charge nurses from every unit. At the briefings, all new inpatients are discussed and the plan for where they will be transferred is communicated. In turn, nurses also relay essential information about the status of current inpatients, whether or not any of them are likely to be discharged that day, and provide clinical updates about current patients who will need to seek other levels of care.

“Communication is essential to being able to do our jobs well,” said Morgan DeVee, an ATA. “That begins at the bed briefings and continues throughout the day as our PFCs round to see if adjustments need to be made.”

‘They’ve been in their shoes’

All of the PFCs are registered nurses and the ATCs are a combination of registered nurses and others with clinical backgrounds — all of whom have worked with patients at the bedside.

“They understand what nurses and other clinicians go through when caring for a patient, they’ve been in their shoes,” said Kristi Wiggins, patient flow coordinator. “That makes it easier for them to formulate care plans that work not just for the patient, but for employees as well.”

In the end, that’s the most essential aspect of the work carried out by the ABCC.

“If we ensure that our units don’t get overwhelmed, we ensure that great care is provided to our patients and families,” said Danielle Steiner, patient flow coordinator.

PFC Bethany Pendell said providing ideal care is the motivation for many of the ABCC team members.

“Every night, we can look back and say, ‘we placed hundreds of patients – and we made an impact in their lives.’ That’s a pretty cool job.”

Want to learn more about the ABCC? It will be holding an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27. The ABCC is located in UH South across from the old Mott gift shop.