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Shaping Healthcare: 6 Questions With ER Centers Of America CEO John McGee

Meet John McGee, chief operating officer at ER Centers of America Inc., a free-standing emergency room in Plano where patients typically receive care in 15 minutes or less. Under the FSER model, it is the goal to deliver quality care to consumers where they live and shop. McGee brings a wealth of corporate background to his position at ERCA. Previously he has served in senior executive positions with Chilton Corporation, TRW and Computer Science Corporation.  

McGee is also a civic leader in Highland Village, where he has lived for nearly a decade with his wife, Janet. McGee was elected to the city council in 2010 and serves on several boards. McGee is also a U.S. Army veteran.

We wanted to know more about McGee and his duties at ER Centers of America, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions: 

Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about ER Centers of America.  

John McGee: ER Centers of America (ERCA) is a free-standing Emergency Medical Care Facility (FSER) that is licensed by the State of Texas. The FSER model delivers high quality emergency care to where people live and shop thereby reduce the time-to-care. All ERCA facilities are Joint Commission accredited. The Joint Commission accreditation is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States. ERCA has been providing quality emergency medical care since January 2008. Basically, a FSER is an emergency room, not a urgentcare, without a hospital attached to it. We have:

  • Board certified, emergency trained doctors and emergency trained nurses.
  • A complete laboratory licensed by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988.
  • A complete radiology department including x-ray, ultrasound and CT scan. 

ERCA’s model is built around responding to the long waits many patients endure at traditional hospital emergency rooms. With few exceptions, our patients are seen by the physician in 15 minutes or less.

DT: What are your duties at ER Centers of America.  

JM: I am the chief operating officer. In that capacity I am responsible for aspects of our operations except medical care which is the responsibility of our chief medical officer.

DT: To help the consumer, can you compare the experience at ER Centers of America to a typical emergency room visit at a hospital?

JM: Yes, I can.  

  • First, we have all the equipment and trained staff of a traditional hospital ER.
  • Our patients are typically seen by the physician in 15 minutes or less versus two – three hours in a hospital ER.
  • Our physicians and nurses have more time to spend with our patients. A typical FSER will see approximately 30 patients in a 24 hour period versus 100+ in a hospital ER.
  • Our facilities are designed for a calming and comfortable environment versus the cold, sterile environment of a traditional hospital ER.
  • We condense the time for medical testing and treatment to a fraction of a traditional hospital ER because all of facility is compressed into approximately 6,500 square feet. You don’t have to be moved to another building for radiology or wait for someone from the laboratory to come from another part of the facility.

DT: Consumers might be concerned about insurance and how that payment works at ER Centers of America. What words of advice can you offer? 

JM: Both Texas law and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) require insurance companies to pay providers of emergency care at the patient’s “in-network” benefit level regardless of whether or not the provider is “in-network” with the insurance company. Even though we are not an “in-network” provider with most insurance companies, the insurance companies are required by reimburse us according to the patient’s “in-network” benefits. Our claims staff works with patients and their insurance company when insurance company representatives do not understand the law.

DT: You are a City Council member in Highland Village. As a business leader and elected official, what do you see as the top challenges for DFW in the next few years?  

JM: The two biggest challenges in the DFW area…and, all of north Texas…are: Water and Transportation. 

  • The explosive growth in north Texas has strained the capacity of fresh water systems throughout the area. Adding to the problem is the introduction of the Zebra Mussel  which clog the pipes used in treating and transporting fresh water. 
  • North Texas is one of the fastest growth areas in the country. The growth has jammed our streets and highways. If we are to continue to grow we must provide superior roadways for both commercial and resident traffic.

DT: What is one thing about you that citizens and maybe your employees would be surprised to learn?  

JM: That I have been a political junkie for most of my life, starting with being student government president while in college.

If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at dtongish@yahoo.com or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.

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Monday, September 15, 2014