Published on November 16, 2018

Reading Hospital's Chair of Emergency Medicine Named to Becker's Healthcare List of Physician Leaders to Know

Becker's Healthcare has named Charles Barbera, MD, MBA, FACEP, Reading Hospital's Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, to its 2018 list of "112 hospital and health system physician leaders to know."

Dr. Barbera is recognized for spearheading the "warm handoff" initiative in the Reading Hospital Emergency Department (ED), which provides resources and encouragement for opioid patients to be sent directly to a substance-abuse rehabilitation program after their stay in the hospital. Statistics show that warm handoffs correlate to a higher likelihood of recovery for patients with drug addictions, because they are more receptive to drug-abuse treatment immediately after an overdose. Reading Hospital treats two to five patients a day who have overdosed. 

"Dr. Barbera's leadership of the warm hand-off process has made an immediate, measurable impact to the Berks County community," says Therese Sucher, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Reading Hospital and Tower Health. "Since beginning the initiative, the Reading Hospital ED has offered the warm handoff to almost 1,500 people, with more than 1,000 accepting treatment."

Reading Hospital has the busiest single site Emergency Department in the state of Pennsylvania, and the eleventh busiest in the country. Since championing the initiative at Reading Hospital, Dr. Barbera has been called upon to educate other healthcare providers of its effectiveness on a local and national level. He was also named the 2018 Berks County Medical Hero by the American Red Cross Tri-County Chapter for his efforts.

Dr. Barbera has been with Tower Health for more than 22 years, leading the Emergency Department for the past 20. He is a Past president of the Berks County Medical Society and the PACEP. He is the Vice Chair of the Board of Reading Hospital, and a board member of Alvernia University, Threshhold rehabilitation Services and Wyomissing