Whether you’re waiting minutes at the ER or hours, overcrowding is a problem seen at area hospitals.
Doctors are working on solutions to redirect patients to the appropriate level of care.
University Hospital has three Emergency Departments but they have 9 nine prompt care facilities. They say that if you’re not in a life threatening situation, prompt care is one of your options for urgent care.
Medical Director for University Hospitals Primary Prompt Care, Dr. Bozeman Sherwood, described the symptoms of a stroke or dangerous cardiac event, “chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing. Neurological findings like a sub loss or sudden occurrence of weakness, army or a leg, difficulty speaking, loss of vision.”
If you feel these symptoms, when you need to head to the ER, but, lately, overcrowding for non-emergent issues have been a problem and area hospitals can’t do anything but treat.
“Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act and that’s been enforced for years,” says Dr. Bozeman, “and you don’t turn anyone away from an emergency room based on the ability to pay or they present with, and that’s one of the issues right now that leads to overcrowding of ER’s too.”
Dr. Sherwood says in 1975 the country lost 30% of hospitals, meaning more patients to fewer facilities. He says around 50% sought out health care from an emergency department.
NewsChannel 6 reporter, Jenna Kelley, asked, “what do you think this says for the health care system in general?”
Dr. Bozeman responded, “I think it’s a crisis situation throughout the country, health care is. I think both in regards to overcrowding how we delivery health care. How reimbursements for health care. If you don’t stay on top of the whole process from a patient-care standpoint and a business standpoint, then you’re going to fail.”
It’s all case-by-case basis, but considering the situation, prompt care can even be more cost effective than going to the ER. So, if you have any of these symptoms…
“Cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, flu, all the way to rashes, to lacerations sprains and strains,” says Dr. Bozeman.
You might want to think twice about heading to the emergency department, but prompt cares do have a direct line for medical transport if they feel it’s necessary.
University Hospital is continuously working on ways to provide more access to patients outside of the emergency department.