Not urgent? Expect to sit up in the ER

From WRAL:

Hospital officials say the reason the ER often runs out of beds is because the general population is growing and aging. But beds are becoming less important in some hospitals.

“Rather than being in a stretcher, they can treat you in a chair that is sectioned off,” said UNC Rex’s Dr. Linda Butler. “They can start their treatment plan and get (the patient) out.”

The different style of treatment is called vertical care, and it’s used for non-urgent patients. Hospital officials say it’s more efficient.

“Instead of a patient waiting in a bed for all of their tests, they can get their tests, go to a chair, wait for results (and) have another patient go into that bed,” Butler said.

The vertical care allows doctors to use more of their space.

West Virginia hospital to charge upfront co-pays for non-emergency ER visits

From Beckers:

Thomas Memorial Hospital in Charleston, W.Va, in about a month, will begin charging upfront co-pays to patients who visit the hospital’s emergency room for non-emergency care, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Upon entry into the ER, patients will be screened to determine if they require emergency care. If they come to the ER for a non-emergency reason, they will be informed of the co-pay and be able to decide to stay and pay the upfront co-pay or visit another provider.

Efficacy of Prescription Guidelines on Opioid Prescriptions in the ED

From Urgent Matters:

As described in a previous Urgent Matters blog post, opioid prescriptions in the emergency department (ED) have the potential to cause long-term opioid use (defined as 180 days or more of opioids within 12 months of the index ED visit). Further, prescription opioids continue to be the number one cause of drug overdose deaths in the US. These trends indicate a dire need for effective interventions to curb unnecessary opioid prescriptions and prevent opioid abuse by patients.

A recent study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine examines the effects of one such intervention: opioid prescribing guidelines. Specifically, the study examined opioid prescription rates by ED physicians in Ohio, comparing pre and post guideline data.  The goal was to determine whether the implementation of Ohio’s April 2012 opioid prescription guidelines for ED physicians reduced the number of opioid prescriptions by ED physicians.

Blue Earth, MN CEO’s Take on the Senate Health Care Bill

From Minnesota Public Radio:

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its analysis of Senate Republicans’ health care plan later Monday.

It’s not much different from the plan House Republicans passed last month, which the CBO estimated would lower the federal deficit over the next decade while also leaving millions more people uninsured.

The deepest cuts Republicans are proposing are to Medicaid, which provides health care to low-income Americans. If passed, rural hospitals would be among those hardest hit because their patients tend to be older and poorer.

MPR’s Cathy Wurzer spoke with Rick Ash, the CEO of a rural hospital in southern Minnesota, United Hospital District in Blue Earth.