East Carolina University physicians have begun seeing patients in the emergency department at Vidant Beaufort Hospital under a new agreement that brings university expertise to the community facility.
Officials with the Brody School of Medicine at ECU and Vidant Health, which leases and operates the Washington hospital, have agreed to a five-year contract that will supply the emergency department with physicians and physician assistants. The contract became effective July 1.
“It provided an opportunity to better link the emergency services of a community hospital with the medical school and Vidant Medical Center,” said Dr. Theodore Delbridge, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine. “A relationship with Vidant Beaufort Hospital is something we have been interested in for some time. So when the opportunity was presented we tried to be quick to say yes.”
East Carolina University physicians are serving eastern North Carolinians through their work at Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington.
Physicians working at Vidant Beaufort Hospital will be specialists in emergency medicine, Delbridge said. The hospital might also become a training site for ECU emergency medicine residents, though faculty physicians will always be on site to supervise residents.
Dr. William Music, who worked with the previous medical group that staffed the E.D. at Vidant Beaufort Hospital, has joined ECU and will continue to work in Washington. Dr. Anthony Frank serves as medical director.
“The opportunity for ECU emergency medicine to partner with Vidant Beaufort Hospital has allowed us another opportunity to further pursue the ECU and Vidant mission of helping to care for the people of eastern North Carolina,” said Frank, a clinical assistant professor at ECU.
“In this transition of care, we will bring residency-trained, board-certified emergency physicians to the VBH facility and during this partnership plan to assist in the updating of emergency care facilities and provide state-of-the-art care in the rural environment.”
The university has hired five other physicians and one physician assistant to work in Washington. Delbridge plans to hire a second P.A. or nurse practitioner to complete the staff.
Drs. Kimberly Alford, Bryan Dunn and Roberto Portella will work in Washington and Greenville. Music and Dr. Kimberly Smith will work in Washington only.
“The ECU Brody School of Medicine physicians represent the high standard of care that we want to provide to our community through our emergency department,” said Harvey Case, president of the hospital. “We are also looking forward to the possibility of developing a training program for residents here at Beaufort. We believe a residency program will not only be great for our hospital, but also our community.”
ECU physicians have staffed the emergency department at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville since the university started its four-year medical school in 1977. Delbridge said he hopes that a successful collaboration between ECU and Vidant Beaufort Hospital might eventually lead to similar arrangements at other community hospitals. Vidant Health also owns, leases or operates hospitals in Kenansville, Belhaven, Ahoskie, Nags Head, Tarboro, Windsor and Edenton.