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Hosptial Emergency Department Redirects Patients with Non-Emergency Needs

Posted Dec 23 2008 9:14pm
W e all know that healthcare has fallen on to some fiscally difficult times and most facilities are scrambling to keep their market share, cut costs, and do what they can to improve reimbursement rates. Added are the woes of provider deficits and every increasing demands for services.

One Ohio health system is trying to fight back by having non-emergent patients seeking care in the emergency department pay their co-pay prior to being seen or get them appointments with on their surrounding clinics within 72 hours. The goal is to keep patients from using the already crowded ED as a primary care provider's office.

This type of program may ease the ED burden somewhat for this healthcare system but I wonder what the actual draw off effect will be. Patients having to pay upwards of $75 prior to being seen may shy some away from going to the ED for minor injuries or illnesses may strike a nerve with the community a bit. The article states about 1 in 10 patients are being redirected to other healthcare access points for care. Their slogan is the right care at the right place.

If a healthcare system has a satellite clinic service that could accommodate such a demand for services as the one is this story than it may prove to be a valuable options for crowded EDs to help mitigate work load and triage services more appropriately. Patient convenience and satisfaction may suffer a bit in the short term but having an ED trying to work at over capacity status is not a great option either. It is likely that improved quality of care could be seen in the ED if the pressure is taking off a bit for those patients that really need to be their.

Article in
The Plain Dealer.
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