Safely Returning for Emergency Care
Bob Linton, M.D., chief of Emergency Medicine at Howard County General Hospital, details the efforts to ensure a safe environment for patients and staff in our ER. He encourages the community to seek care immediately by calling 9-1-1 if anyone is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness on one side of the body or slurred speech.
Our ER entrance is conveniently located off of Little Patuxent Parkway.
Our 36-bed Emergency Room is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week by board-certified Johns Hopkins emergency medicine physicians. The 24,000 square foot expansion provides state-of-the-art comprehensive, individualized emergency medical care and urgent care to the citizens of Howard County and the surrounding area.
Read our quick-reference guide for advice on when you should go to the Emergency Room.
What to Expect Upon Arrival
- After the triage nurse completes your assessment, you will be escorted to a treatment area when one is available.
- In order to expedite your care, we may immediately initiate some tests before you are taken to the treatment area.
- Please notify us right away if you feel that your condition is worsening.
Your medical care is our first priority. To best meet your needs, our registration process has two stages. You will be asked to complete a brief registration upon arrival and provide a photo ID. If you have been treated here before, this will help us access your existing medical records to ensure we have the critical information.
Once you have been seen by a member of the care team, an admission counselor will meet you to complete your registration, including gathering insurance information and signing consent forms.
Unfortunately, there are times when the number of patients seeking care exceeds the number of treatment spaces. During those times, we must prioritize who is brought to the treatment area based on their individual situation and the treatment areas which are available. Pediatric patients will be moved to our special Pediatric Emergency Department. We also have a rapid evaluation process for less complex conditions.
Triage & Treatment Priority
Following our evaluation, patients are prioritized based on individual medical need, not solely by the time of arrival.
Evaluation / Treatment Time
Depending on your condition and symptoms, a variety of tests may be needed. The results of some tests, including blood work or diagnostic studies, can take a few hours to complete. If you have questions about how long something is going to take, please ask your care provider.
Your Care Providers
An emergency physician or physician assistant, who works under the direct supervision of our emergency physicians, and our emergency nursing staff will care for you. Depending on your situation, a specialist also may be contacted to come to the hospital to evaluate and treat you.
We work collaboratively with our community medical providers. If your physician’s office has referred you, please let us know. Any information provided by their office helps guide us in deciding what testing you may need. Whether you were referred or arrived independently, we provide all patients with assessment testing and care based on our evaluation of your current condition.
We will care for your emergent condition today. However, to ensure you receive the highest level of ongoing treatment, we may recommend that you follow up with a medical provider after your Emergency Room visit. If you do not have a regular medical provider we would be happy to provide you with a referral.
Behavioral Health Navigators
Two Emergency Department staff members are helping to meet an important need in the Howard County community - coordinating follow up care for behavioral health patients. HCGH's behavioral health navigators are working with patients with behavioral health needs and their family members by providing information, resources and referrals to services in the community, such as mental health treatment, substance use treatment, support groups and house based programs.
Our Pediatric Unit provides emergency, inpatient and observation care for children 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Read More
Our Observation Unit, adjacent to the emergency department, provides specialized care for patients presenting with symptoms of a heart attack, including the monitoring necessary to evaluate a patient's need for cardiac intervention or admission as an inpatient.
Our Psychiatric Unit is a separate, secure unit designed and staffed to treat patients in need of emergency mental health services. If necessary, the patient will be directly admitted to one of the hospital's inpatient units.
The Emergency Department at Howard County General Hospital can be reached at 410-740-7777. If you are experiencing a medical emergency and need immediate assistance, please call 9-1-1.