Good Shepherd Medical Center has launched a patient referral program that hospital officials say will help ensure emergency room patients get continuing care by matching them with doctors according to the patient’s specific needs.
The program, called CareDirect, is free, an announcement from the medical center said.
“There are a number of patients who come to the Emergency Department who do not have a primary care physician but need care for a non-urgent condition. The Emergency Department is not the ideal place for these needs to be managed,” said Ron Short, vice president of operations.
In 2008-09, about 30,000 patients without a primary care physician received emergency treatment at GSMC. Helping patients establish a relationship with a primary care provider lays the foundation for preventive care, which in the long run will improve patient health and reduce their healthcare costs, the announcement said.
“With CareDirect, we assist patients in establishing a relationship with a primary care physician,” Short said.
“Our CareDirect coordinators contact the physician’s office, schedule an appointment at a time convenient for the patient and provide the patient with the office paperwork before the patient even leaves the Emergency Department,” he said.
The hospital also follows up with the patient to make sure needs and expectations were met.
“Helping patients establish that critical relationship with a primary care physician and affording them access to the appropriate level of medical and preventive care is the right thing for our patients and the right thing for our community,” Short said.
CareDirect referrals are made to practices in Longview and surrounding communities that provide not only immediate care of the sick and injured, but also specialize in: adult internal medicine, pediatrics, newborn care, selected surgical procedures, office gynecology, community and preventive medicine, according to GSMC.
“Through the implementation of CareDirect, Good Shepherd seeks to reduce the number of Emergency Department patients without a primary care physician and improve patients’ continuity of care,” the announcement said.
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