A new group at BNHC wants to keep you healthy and out of the hospital.
The patient-centered group, led by BNHC’s Dr. Nikhil Gohokar, meets weekly and focuses on helping patients tend to their health care needs without having to visit the area’s overcrowded emergency rooms. Called “The ER Can Wait,” the unique group is centered on health care, but also provides the resources to help patients with many other needs, including housing, insurance and transportation. For that reason, the team includes a medical assistant, registered nurse, pharmacist, behavioral health clinician, social workers and a patient engagement specialist.
Patient Lilia Teixeira describes her symptoms to Dr. Gohokar as Nurse Practitioner Emanuella De Pina translates.
Medical Assistant Maria Delaney and Patient Engagement Specialist Luisa Schaeffer talk at the hospital readmission group on Sept. 14, 2023.
Community Health Worker Edmilson Afonso shows the instructions given to patients for monitoring their health at home.
Dr. Nikhil Gohokar examines Emanuel Gomes at “The ER Can Wait” group on Sept. 14, 2023.
Dr. Nikhil Gohokar, center, takes notes as assistant Emanuella De Pina translates what patient Emanuel Gomes shares about his symptoms.
Dr. Nikhil Gohokar and assistant Emaneulla De Pina, NP, examine patient Lilia Teixeira’s back pain .
Pharmacist Linh Dopham transcribes her notes as patients meet with BNHC staff in the background at the weekly “The ER Can Wait” patient group.
Ana Maria Barbosa, RN, takes a break from transcribing notes from the patient meeting on Sept. 14, 2023.
Patient Jamie Gomes thanks Dr. Nikhil Gohokar with a high-5 after the Sept. 14, 2023, meeting of “The ER Can Wait” group.
Patient Jamie Gomes and BNHC’s Luisa Schaeffer share a high-5 after their meeting.
Pharmacist Linh Dopham, left, takes down the medication history of Emanuel Gomes, right, from Mr. Gomes’ son.
Patient Engagement Specialist Luisa Schaeffer introduces herself to the Sept. 14, 2023, meet of “The ER Can Wait” group.
Ana Maria Barbosa, RN, address the gathering on Sept. 14, 2023, in the conference room of BNHC as Pharmacist Linh Dopham prepares to introduce herself.
Team members from “The ER Can Wait” hospital readmission group include, from left, Community Health Worker Edmilson Afonso, Medical Assistant Marie Delaney, Registered Nurse Ana Maria Barbosa, Dr. Nikhil Gohokar, Patient Engagement Specialist Luisa Schaeffer, Nurse Practitioner Emanuella DePina and Pharmacist Linh DoPham.
“The objective of the group is to prevent admissions to the hospital or emergency department,” said Dr. Gohokar, “but we can do so much more for the patient.”
Each Thursday, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Dr. Gohokar’s team gathers with roughly seven patients at BNHC’s conference room to address their health concerns, ensure they are getting the care they need, assist in making appointments, help obtain medications, and arrange follow-up care. During the session, visit with each of the team’s experts individually after a group introduction. The group has shown to be extremely effective, reducing emergency room visits and hospital readmissions by 75%.
“The key is that it’s all happening in real time,” said Ana Maria Barbosa, RN, who coordinates the sessions. “If you need medications, you’ll get them the same day. If you need an appointment or a test, we’ll schedule those while you’re here. We’ll even give you a blood pressure monitoring device to bring home, if you need one.”
Patient Jamie Wilson, who attended a recent session, said she arrived not knowing what to expect, but was glad she came. “I was feeling down about a lot of things before coming,” said Jamie, who has faced both housing and health issues, “but I am so glad I did. They really care, and they really can help.”
The group includes: Community Health Worker Edmilson Alfonso, Hospital Discharge Coordinator Patricia Augustin, Community Health Worker Chelsea Andrade, Registered Nurse Ana Maria Barbosa, Medical Assistant Maria Delaney, Pharmacist Linh DoPham, Dr. Nikhil Gohokar, Behavioral Health Clinician Amelia Montrond, Data Analyst Ayotola Olugbenga, Patient Engagement Specialist Luisa Schaeffer and Resource Coordinator Judith Varela.
How to Attend a Meeting:
BNHC’s “The ER Can Wait” group meets from 10:30 to 1 p.m. on Thursdays in the main conference room at 63 Main Street. BNHC calls and invites most patients to the group, who have had multiple emergency room or hospital visits in the past month for non life-threatening issues. But all patients are welcome to attend by contacting patient engagement specialist Luisa Schaeffer at SchaefferL@bnhc.org or 508-894-3610.