CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Making Shorter Wait Times Happen for Patients

From the minute a patient steps through the doors of CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial, it’s our job to make sure each and every one has a pleasant experience. The hospital can be a scary place – one full of unknowns and a hurry-up-and-wait mentality that can add to the uncertainty and anxiety felt by some.

In order to ease the minds of patients preparing to have surgery, the Admission and Day Surgery Pre-Admission departments are working together to reduce wait times and make life a little easier for everyone.

“By streamlining a few of our processes and enhancing our communication, we have tremendously sped up the patient’s wait time from hours to minutes,” said Hebah Jabbour, Patient Access Supervisor for Outpatient Admissions. “It’s been great from our standpoint, and we know our patients are really pleased.”

In some cases, the team has reduced wait times by 85 percent.

When a patient is scheduled for surgery, the pre-admission team prepares consent forms and instructions specific to each type of procedure, as well as the patient’s medical history, X-rays, laboratory results and the physician’s orders. This takes time. However, if all that paperwork can all be prepared prior to the patient’s arrival, it’s more convenient for everyone involved.

“We like to meet with our patients face-to-face before their procedure, go over any questions or concerns they have, and fill out all the necessary paperwork; so when it’s time for their surgery, there’s nothing more they need to worry about,” said Melony Wilkerson, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager for Ambulatory Services.

The majority of patients who come through the Admission process don’t know they can schedule a pre-admission appointment. Many have been sitting at their doctor’s office, come straight to the hospital and are tired of waiting. Jabbour and Wilkerson said a lot of that down time could be eliminated by making an appointment.

“That way their accounts have been established and the necessary paperwork is ready,” Wilkerson said.

Oftentimes, surgery is unexpected, urgent and there’s no time to schedule an appointment.

“We understand that, of course. That’s the nature of emergent health care,” Wilkerson said. “We’re going to have walk-in patients. But for those who know they’re having surgery ahead of time, make the appointment and save yourself some real time.”

Patients are taking notice of the shorter wait times, and that’s what the entire Admissions team hoped to accomplish.

“We just want to make the overall experience better for the patient,” Jabbour said. “Everyone values their time, and we want our patients to know that we value their time, as well. It takes teamwork, but ultimately that’s what we’re here for – the patient. We want them to have the best experience possible while they are with us.”

Cutline: Pictured from left to right: Chanta Loftis, Patient Access; Helen Dekerlegand, Patient Access; Nerissa Williams, Pre-Admissions; LaDonna Johnston, RN; Melony Wilkerson, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager for Ambulatory Services; Rachel Maddux, RN, BSN; Hebah Jabbour, Patient Access, OutPatient Admissions Supervisor; Denise Menefee, Patient Access, Director of Admissions; Shalicia Riggins, RN, Charge Nurse for Pre-Admissions; Cassandra Jones, RN, BSN; Linda Butler, Patient Access; Tiffany Truscott, Patient Access; Vicky Mullins, Patient Access; and Marco Alvarado, Patient Access. Patient Access Representatives not pictured: Shronda Mask, Martisha Snyder and Latanya Handy.

About CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial

Memorial provides more than a quarter of a million patient services each year and has a longstanding history of providing quality, innovative health care in East Texas.

With hospitals in Lufkin, Livingston, San Augustine and Memorial Specialty – the area’s only long-term acute care hospital – CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial provides millions of dollars in charity care and community support each year. Our mission is to nurture the healing ministry of the Church, supported by education and research. Fidelity to the Gospel urges us to emphasize human dignity and social justice as we create healthier communities.

Memorial offers a wide array of services, including the area’s first dedicated heart and stroke care facility and radiation oncology at the Temple Cancer Center. It is also known for the area’s only comprehensive diabetes, heart and stroke education center. Other specialty areas include imaging, orthopedic care, women’s services, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, homecare, wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, kidney & diabetes treatment, sleep disorders treatment and express lab.

Memorial Clinics, a division of the health system, employs more than 30 providers in 17 locations across East Texas. Specialties include Family Practice, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Cardiology, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Internal Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Allergy/Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat), and Chiropractic Care.

About CHI St. Luke’s Health
CHI St. Luke’s Health, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), is comprised of three markets?CHI St. Luke’s Health is home of the Texas Heart Institute (THI), eight hospitals, eight emergency centers, Diagnostic & Treatment Center, Radiation & CyberKnife Center, and several St. Luke’s Medical Group locations throughout Greater Houston; CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial (three hospitals and a long-term acute care facility in East Texas); and CHI St. Joseph Health (five hospitals and several St. Joseph Medical Group locations across Brazos Valley). In addition, CHI St. Luke’s is a part of a joint venture agreement with Baylor College of Medicine, which encompasses Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in the Texas Medical Center. Together, CHI St. Luke’s Health, THI, and Baylor College of Medicine are transforming healthcare delivery with a mission to usher in a new era of healthcare to create healthier communities. For more information, visit