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State Heath Services Investigating JPS ER

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - Helicopters, ambulances, paramedics and sliding doors that open to a room buzzing with doctors and nurses. That's what most people picture when they think of an emergency room.

But when patients pull into JPS Diagnostic & Surgery Hospital of Arlington, they'll find an ER with a locked door and a call box at the back entrance.

And now, following a CBS 11 investigation, the Texas Department of State Health  Services is now looking into the ER.

Despite the lack of easy access, the small hospital located at 4400 New York Avenue has eight posted red and white signs that clearly tells the public it is a place for emergencies.

"No, it's not false advertising. It is an emergency room that meets the standards that the state and the federal governments have established for us."

That's what JPS CEO Robert Earley told CBS  11.  But when he appeared before the Tarrant County Commissioners Court last week, he was far less confident.

"I have constantly felt concern that there is an emergency room over there (Arlington) that is an emergency room on paper. It's not an emergency room that I think efficiently and effectively acts as an emergency room."

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County Commissioner Andy Nguyen brought the concerns to the attention of the court after a conversation he had with Earley.  "My fear is that the public could be driven to the facility, thinking that it's an emergency center and needing urgent or emergency service and it's not there."

The Texas Department of State Health Services requires hospitals to have emergency rooms. Although Earley says the ER at the JPS facility in Arlington can stabilize a patient, he told the commissioners it can't do much more than that.

"I don't feel comfortable at all with people having on their GPS system to go to that emergency room. It's more of a stabilization unit than anything else… Where I'm most concern is, if somebody is in a severe state of a heart attack and shows up at that parking lot. We can do our best to help them, but showing up in our parking lot is probably not much different than showing up in a care now facility… This is not a full-fledged emergency room."

The facility is licensed as a hospital, but it's primarily for outpatient surgeries. Earley says he wants to remove all eight emergency signs to avoid confusion, but says the building's license must first be changed.

"That's the guidelines and the rules that we have to live by. I'd be in violation of state and federal guidelines if I took a screwdriver and took the emergency signs down."

Earley says it could take several months to remove the ER signs.


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