Inside the ER


Emergencies happen anywhere, anytime – and you need to know who you can trust. With Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s emergency rooms ready to receive any walk-in emergency or ambulance arrival on a moment’s notice, the RGV community knows they will be in good hands should they ever experience any medical emergency. “We have advanced trauma capabilities. We are the fastest and most efficient, full-service, hospital-based emergency department in the Valley,” says Dr. Richard Moore, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Rio Grande Regional Hospital. “We take care of all kinds of illnesses every day. We are ready for you.”

Quality Service

Rio Grande Regional Hospital is recognized as an Advanced Level III Trauma Center. This recognition requires being surveyed through the Texas Emergency Medical Services Trauma & Acute Care Foundation (TETAF) and the State of Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and meeting very specific requirements: provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, surgery, intensive care and stabilization of injured patients and emergency operations. “Rio Grande Regional Hospital distinguishes itself as the only Level III Trauma Center in the Valley found to have zero deficiencies on their Consultation/Verification Program, carried out by both TETAF and DSHS in March 2016,” says Dr. Carlos Garcia-Cantu, Trauma Medical Director at Rio Grande Regional Hospital. “The quality we provide here is on par with great hospitals elsewhere in the state,” says Dr. Moore.  “We have capabilities that some other local facilities don’t have.” Because of their extensive services like the cardiac catheterization laboratory, which is open 24 hours a day, the orthopedic program, the pulmonary care doctors and neurologists on call, a full service intensive care unit (ICU) and pediatric ICU with a neonatal unit, they rarely find themselves transferring patients to a higher level trauma center. In fact, local hospitals from Cameron, Hidalgo, and Starr counties transfer trauma patients to be admitted to Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s intensive care units.  

Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s pediatric critical care team is made up of some of the best doctors in the Valley, according to Dr. Moore. “These doctors have been with Rio Grande Regional Hospital for more than 10 years. They have made several great saves, taking care of some children who were very sick, received great care and ultimately, were discharged home.  I’m very proud of that,” he says.


A Leader in Emergency Care

Rio Grande Regional Hospital maintains its status as a leader in emergency care by adhering to strict guidelines. Rio Grande Regional Hospital is affiliated with a larger healthcare organization, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). Dr. Moore says that HCA is strongly focused on improving quality and efficiency.  “The beauty of working within a large organization like this is that we’re always looking for best practices to ensure the highest quality of care for our patients.” Every subgroup at the hospital – from trauma, to ER, to the quality department itself – has measures that are looked at for quality assurance purposes. “Patient satisfaction is very important to us,” says Bertha Guerra, Director of Emergency Services at Rio Grande Regional Hospital. “We ask for feedback through an exit survey, and part of what we do on a daily basis is leader rounds on our patients.” These visits let the patients see how serious the staff is about taking good care of them.


Carlos A. RamirezDon’t Wait

A major factor for emergency care is the urgency of the situation, so naturally an emergency patient’s main concern is getting treatment as soon as possible. “We have excellent wait times,” says Guerra. She stresses that the measured ER wait time is from door to doctor.  Patients will be examined by a triage nurse who assesses the patient’s status within that time and transfers the care to the doctor. “We take great care to make sure they’re being seen by a doctor in a timely manner, and start the necessary treatment immediately.”

The average wait time is displayed on billboards outside the hospital as well as within the waiting rooms, and online at their website, By sharing the short wait times, Rio Grande Regional Hospital wants the community to feel reassured knowing they will receive quality care when they need it most. Wait time averages around 10 minutes on the main campus, and tend to be shorter for Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s two freestanding emergency rooms.  


More Locations, Same Quality Care

The 24 Hour Freestanding Emergency Departments are Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s solution to the vastness of Texas and our sprawling cities. From one moment to the next, a life could be on the line, and you want the closest available help.

“We are able to expand our emergency services to the community using the freestanding emergency room model,” says Dr. Carlos Ramirez, Medical Director, Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s freestanding emergency departments. “It was a strategic move we made a few years ago to accomplish this accommodation and immediate access to emergency services.”

A freestanding emergency room is a self-contained, full service, stand-alone emergency facility. “We’re emergency room departments but just detached from the hospital,” says Ramirez. “We’re fully staffed with highest quality personnel to attend to any emergency, from a stuffy, runny nose to heart attack, strokes or gunshot wounds. Our nursing staff and physicians have a very rigorous set of credentials and training.”

Brett Stock, Administrator of Rio Grande Regional Hospital 24 Hour Emergency Care Freestanding Emergency Departments, explains that Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s freestanding emergency rooms uphold the same standards as the main campus. Freestanding ERs are equipped similarly to hospital ERs, with a radiology lab, ultrasound, CAT scan machines, and laboratory.

“Our locations are conveniently located so we can better serve the community,” says Stock. “From a service perspective, we offer the same services as a hospital based emergency room.  “If the physician decides you have to be admitted to the main hospital, we can get you started here and we’ll have everything waiting for you at the hospital. The transition is seamless. You go right to your room; you don’t have to check in again.”


Carlos Garcia CantuA Team that Cares

The stress of the emergency room and the standards Rio Grande Regional Hospital upholds for its staff would be too much for a lot of people to handle but not to the employees of this hospital. Rich Tidwell, RN, EMT, Director of Trauma states, “The staff is prepared and more than willing to help every patient in any situation. All ER staff receive special training and certifications.”


The ER staff sees every age group, from the geriatric generation to a mother giving birth to a newborn. With such a large population passing through the ER, they make a wide range of diagnoses.  Guerra explains that patients know that you truly care about their well being, especially when you take the time to answer their questions and comfort them. “That’s fulfilling for everyone involved,” she says.  This care for their patients is characteristic of employees at all levels at Rio Grande Regional Hospital, who put the patient’s first in every decision they make.  “We have a team approach to taking care of our patients,” says Guerra, who has been with the hospital for over 12 years. “And we have an awesome team throughout the hospital.”

ER staff also work with the community to spread potentially life-saving information. Their Stop the Bleed campaign helps schoolteachers learn basic first aid skills, and they teach fall-prevention strategies to Winter Texans. Rio Grande Regional Hospital engages in further community outreach via their campaign, which was recently nationally recognized. “The campaign is designed to help the community better understand their symptoms to key conditions and get answers when they may be searching online for information regarding their health,” says Adriana Morales, Director of Community & Public Relations. “We have worked very hard and are very proud that our GetERReady digital efforts are nationally on par with other large hospital organizations such as Johns Hopkins Medicine.”

Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s services and locations ensure that our community members, are always taken care of because anyone can suffer an emergency – anytime, anywhere.  “We are proud to always provide you with healthcare you can trust”, states Cris Rivera, Chief Executive Officer at Rio Grande Regional Hospital.  

Richard B. Moore

To learn more about Rio Grande Regional Hospital, visit their website, www.