Out Of The ED, Into Urgent Care

From News Channel 3 (Memphis):

Efforts are underway to shift 20,000 Shelby Countians kicked off of TennCare to 11 “quick-care” clinics county-wide, said Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton in a news conference Friday.

Wharton announced the county received a $2.4 million “one-year demonstration project” grant to provide primary medical care and social services to what he called TennCare “disenrollees” and to alleviate overcrowded conditions at The Med, the state’s largest government-funded charity hospital.

“It will clear folks out of the emergency room, and get them into urgent care or primary care away from the emergency room setting,” said Wharton, “thereby freeing up the emergency room for those individuals who have to be there.”

The Quick-Care Medical Clinic at 880 Madison Avenue will expand its hours to 8am-10pm Monday through Friday. Its weekend hours are 10am-6pm. Clinic staff will refer uninsured patients to permanent “medical homes,” either at Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHC’s) in the network or at faith-based clinics like the Church Health Center at 1115 Union Avenue.

"Big Game" = Low ED Volume

From ABC News:

Physicians at Children’s Hospital Boston, who collected data from emergency rooms in Boston during the Red Sox’s run to the World Series in October 2004, found that patient volume dipped significantly during the most important postseason contests.

The authors used the Nielsen television ratings to determine the magnitude of a sporting contest: the higher the rating, the more important they considered the game. The findings, published in today’s edition of Annals of Emergency Medicine, indicate that the games with the highest Nielsen television ratings — Game 4 of the World Series and Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, both of which were series-clinching contests for the Red Sox — were associated with lower emergency department volume than games with lower television viewership.

Based on their data, the authors believe that one can predict how busy an emergency room will be based on how “big” the game is. This does not come as a surprise to many emergency medicine physicians, who have found they see far fewer patients in their hospitals at times when there is a major sporting event being played.

“That seems to hold true in many occasions,” said Dr. Guillermo Pierluisi, an emergency medicine physician at the Medical College of Georgia. “Folks with nonemergent conditions — sometimes even those with emergent conditions such as chest pain — tend to wait until the televised event is over to visit the emergency department.”


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