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Published February 08, 2013, 08:15 PM

Mercy Hospital in Valley City is seeing big changes in the ER

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) -- Competition and federal regulations have prompted a Valley City hospital to make some changes in its Emergency Room.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) -- Competition and federal regulations have prompted a Valley City hospital to make some changes in its Emergency Room.

Mercy Hospital is eliminating ER physicians' assistants and bringing in full-time physicians from a national company. The shifting landscape of health care is causing Mercy Hospital in Valley City to make some changes in the Emergency Room.

Keith Heuser/hospital president: "We healthcare providers are living in a time of possibly the greatest and most rapid change in my 30 plus years in healthcare."

Right now, they have three physicians' assistants working nights and weekends.

If someone comes in needing a physician's care, they have to call someone from either the Sanford or Essentia clinics.

JoAnn Trader/ER Nurse: "If they're seeing patients at the clinic, their patients are kind of put on hold and they have to come here and see the patients here."

Now, Mercy plans to hire up to five full-time physicians to work in the ER 24/7, and eliminate the physicians assistants.

Heuser: "That was the extremely difficult part of this decision, because they've been great employees and done a great job for us."

The new physicians will be contracted through a national company called M-Care.

Between the growing competition in the medical field here in Valley City and changes in federal regulation like the Affordable Care Act, Mercy Hospital knew they had to make some changes to stay in the game.

Heuser: "It's going to create a more responsive atmosphere. And in the long run, we feel that it will really help with the patients' perception of quality in our organization."

They hope to have the new system in place by May.

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