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Transfer and Clinical Discussions for Patients with Urgent and Complex Conditions

As part of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins Health System seeks to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence and providing patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. Johns Hopkins providers and staff collaborate with health care professionals around the globe to care for patients with time-critical or complex conditions.

Johns Hopkins Access Line (HAL) physician referral coordinators work with referring and accepting physicians to best meet the needs of patients. The HAL team works closely with experienced clinical expeditors and medical transportation coordinators to manage the rapid and safe transfer of patients to Johns Hopkins Health System hospitals.

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HAL allows outside or referring physicians to speak with a physician in any department within the Johns Hopkins Health System 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To request a transfer evaluation, call 800-765-5447, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • The Hopkins Access Line (HAL) is a dedicated resource that connects providers to Johns Hopkins physicians to discuss patient care and potential transfer into a Johns Hopkins Health System facility.

    The HAL team, which is based in the Johns Hopkins Capacity Command Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, activates care teams for critical and complex conditions as well as the transfer and admission process in order meet patient needs.

    The HAL team will:

    • Collect patient information on condition and diagnosis.
    • Facilitate physician-to-physician communications.
    • Collect medical record information and images to reduce duplication of tests and scans.
    • Provide real-time bed status for incoming patients.
    • Activate the Johns Hopkins Lifeline critical care transport team.
  • Health care providers should call the Hopkins Access Line in these instances:

    • To refer a patient for inpatient care at The Johns Hopkins Hospital
    • If you are a provider caring for a patient previously under the care of a Johns Hopkins physician and have questions regarding that patient
    • To speak with a physician at The Johns Hopkins Hospital regarding other patient care questions
  • Highly trained HAL physician referral coordinators handle all calls with access to Johns Hopkins physicians’ schedules, on-call lists and contact numbers. Our coordinators help ensure you are connected with the Johns Hopkins physician best able to discuss your patient's case.

    If you wish to speak with a specific physician who is not immediately available, the HAL representative will direct you to an available specialist or arrange for the requested physician to return your call.

    After a patient has been accepted at a Johns Hopkins Health System facility, HAL will continue to update you on the status of the transfer and will initiate the admission process and transportation through the Johns Hopkins Lifeline patient transport service.

  • When calling the Hopkins Access Line, a physician referral coordinator will ask for the following information:

    1. The attending physician name and specialty.
    2. Patient location. If the patient is at a hospital, please provide the floor, room number and telephone number of the floor nurses station (not a patient room telephone number).
    3. Diagnosis and plan of treatment or procedure (e.g., cardiac catheterization, coronary artery bypass grafting, open-heart surgery) that the patient is being transferred to The Johns Hopkins Hospital or other Johns Hopkins Health System hospital to receive.

    Once this information is obtained, the physician referral coordinator will set up a conference call for the referring physicians with the appropriate on-call physician at Johns Hopkins.

    Next steps:

    1. Physicians will be asked to fax a copy of a demographic sheet to the HAL office. This should include insurance information, which the utilization review nurse will use for financial certification. Fax demographic sheets to 410-367-2101.
    2. A Lifeline communications staff member will contact the floor where the patient will be admitted for patient triage and transport information and determine the best appropriate method for transportation. (Factors such as acuity of patient, weather and distance will be considered.)
    3. While an air or ground transport team is en route to pick up the patient, the following additional information may be requested to expedite transfer and limit bedside time at the transferring hospital:
      • Copy of the patient's chart
      • Discharge summary from the transferring hospital/medical institution
      • Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)/Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) transfer forms completed and signed from the transferring hospital/medical institution
      • Certification of Medical Necessity (CMN)/Physician Certification Statement (PCS) forms completed and signed
      • Hard copies of any X-rays/films that will be needed by the receiving department/physician
  • Our highest priority is ensuring that all patients receive the treatment and care they require.

    When patients do not have a time-critical condition or need emergency care, we conduct a comprehensive case review of the patient’s clinical needs and insurance coverage. This evaluation explores medical necessity to transfer a patient.

    At the direction of the Johns Hopkins provider accepting the patient, the HAL team will obtain medical records pertaining to the transfer. The Johns Hopkins physician team will determine the need for an emergency transfer and may be able to suggest effective alternatives, such as a telemedicine consultation or comprehensive outpatient care. This review is essential to protect the patient from paying unnecessary medical costs.

    We also evaluate insurance coverage in advance to help patients make informed decisions and avoid the burden of unexpected, uncovered medical costs. Patients without verified payer coverage may speak with our financial counselors if they wish to continue the transfer process.


Learn more about Johns Hopkins Medicine.

For appointments, please call 410-955-5000 (adults) or 410-955-2000 (pediatrics) or 855-695-4872 (outside Maryland).

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