ER Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Triage Nurse?
    A Triage Nurse is responsible for assessing all the patients that come into the Emergency Room through the public entrance. He or she will use skills taught to them during their long educational training to determine the order in which patients should be seen based on their severity of illness/injury.     

    Please understand that at times, serious patients may come into the ER after you, and these patients will be given priority over patients with less severe conditions. Conditions that are severe in nature, may include:
    • Bleeding that is uncontrolled
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Heart conditions
    • Overdoses of Medication

    If you feel that your condition changes while you are waiting, please ask the triage nurse to re-evaluate your condition. We want all patients to receive the best care possible in the shortest amount of time.
  • If the lobby is fairly empty, why am I waiting?
    Cullman Regional Medical Center is growing rapidly. With this growth comes increased numbers of patients that are brought to this facility via ambulances. Many of these patients are from accidents, nursing homes and other facilities that depend on CRMC to provide expert health care that they are unable to provide. It is not uncommon in the ER to receive two or more patients in one ambulance from accidents or to receive multiple patient transfers each shift from other health care facilities. Since the ambulance entrance is separate from the public entrance, you may not be aware of the number of patients needing care that have come into the hospital in this manner.
  • The doctor ordered tests. What is the wait?
    Once the doctor has examined a patient, he or she may order appropriate tests to help determine the reason for your current condition. Lab tests vary greatly in how complex the process is that determines the final results. Some tests are very time consuming and can take up to one hour to complete. Diagnostic Tests, or x-rays, usually can be obtained in a short period of time; however, the test then has to be interpreted by a radiologist which may take time. Please be aware that we monitor ourselves constantly. Our goal is to provide care that will help resolve your condition or injury and care that will have you back at home or admitted to the hospital in the shortest amount of time possible.
  • What is ExpressCare?
    Cullman Regional Medical Care ExpressCare is a six-bed area, located within the CRMC Emergency Department and designated to treat non-emergency patients. The ExpressCare area is open 10 am – 10 pm, seven days a week and is staffed by a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner, a Registered Nurse and an ER Patient Care Technician.

    ExpressCare is designed to provide a decreased length of stay for non-emergency ER visits. Emergency cases may be seen in this area at the discretion of the Emergency Services staff. All treatment provided in the ExpressCare is done so with the collaboration of the Emergency Department physician on duty.

    Patients seen in the ExpressCare area are still triaged through the emergency department to determine severity of illness before moving to this area.
  • What should I bring with me to the ER?
    Most recent prescription bottles, insurance cards, list of past medical history including surgeries and any other important information that would assist in expediting your emergency care.
  • Why didn’t I see a doctor?
    The CRMC Emergency department is staffed with a Board-Certified Emergency Physician 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The ER is also staffed with a Certified Physician Assistant or Certified Nurse Practitioner from 12 pm – 12 am in the Main Emergency Department and 10 am – 10 pm in the ExpressCare area. All treatment provided in the Emergency Department is done so with collaboration of the Emergency Physician on duty.
  • Why did I receive more than one bill?
    In order to provide the best patient care in the most efficient manner possible, CRMC has contracted with the     Pegasus Emergency Group, Birmingham Radiology Group & Cunningham Pathology Group to provide the     physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in the CRMC Emergency Room, Radiologists in the Diagnostic Imaging Center and Pathologists in the CRMC Laboratory. Due to this arrangement, patients receiving treatment in the Cullman Regional Medical Center Emergency Services Center will receive two or more bills for services.
    • CRMC Bill: Your hospital bill reflects all of the CRMC services you receive during your stay including your room, nursing care, housekeeping, and/or any special service charges which may include items your physician orders for you, such as x-rays or laboratory tests, supplies, drugs, etc.
    • Physician Services bill: If you have certain tests or treatments while in the hospital, you may receive bills from physicians you did not see in person. These bills are for professional services rendered by these doctors in diagnosing and interpreting test results while you were a patient. Pathologists, radiologists, cardiologists, anesthesiologists and other specialists perform these services and are required to submit separate bills. If you have questions about these bills, please call the number printed on the statement you receive from them.
  • Why did I have to wait so long?
    It is the goal of the CRMC Emergency Department to bring each patient to the treatment area immediately after triage, if a bed is available. Wait times vary based on your presenting complaint. More severe complaints requiring lab, x-ray or IV fluids have an extended treatment time in the emergency department. If you have lab work, you can expect to stay at least an hour after the blood is obtained. If you require radiology studies, especially a CAT scan, you can expect to stay at least 2 hours. Patients that require admission to the hospital have a 3-4 hour wait time.
  • What did they take someone back first that arrived after I did?
    Patients are treated in the Emergency Department based on presenting complaint and severity, not based on arrival time. Critically-ill patients will be brought to the treatment area ahead of non-urgent patients.