Health Care Providers Creating Options To Alleviate Strain on EDs
Health care providers inÂ the Sacramento regionÂ are setting up alternative primary care options in an effort to deflect emergency department use and lower health care costs, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Several health care organizations recently haveÂ opened urgent care clinics and launched pilot programs to help care for patients outside of traditional business hours.
Dignity Health, formerly known as Catholic Healthcare West, last year launched a pilot program, called the Community Health Referral Network, to match ED patients with services provided in a primary care setting.
Eighty percent of the 2,000 patients who have been referred through the program have not returned to seek ED care.
Meanwhile, Sutter Health this month opened an urgent care facility in Elk Grove that operates every day of the year and accepts walk-in patients. The organization operates similar clinics in several other cities.
Eric Rasmussen -- director of growth and development for the Sutter Medical Foundation -- said urgent care clinics represent a less costly treatment option than EDs.
In addition, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in south Sacramento has taken steps to reduce ED visits by:
- Implementing a practice in which physician-led teams assess patientsÂ in the ED's waiting room; and
- Allowing patients to speak on the phone with health care providers after hours to get treatment advice (Gonzalez, Sacramento Bee, 1/29).