Quote from TazziRN
As a typical overworked RN (see thread re: Rules), I love the idea. I think it's perfect for the people who use the ER as a convenience clinic. However, there are times when that wouldn't be right: when something happens that a parent has never seen before in their child and panics, only to find out it's normal. Or (as often happens in my town) on weekends the clinic is staffed by a PA, and their policy is that the PA does not see babies under 4 months or pregnancy-related complaints (unless it's a routine OB check). Those pts are sent to the ER by the clinic, so they are just doing what they were told. They may be prepared to pay a clinic co-pay of $20-50, but they would not be prepared for an ER co-pay.
When the panicky parent arrives with the child who has a non ugent or semi urgent condition, the parent is told it is not an emergency. thus relieving the parents fears, but also allowing them to pay and stay or go to the clinic in the am. This ,of course , is at night. During the day, the person has the option of being seen in our express care area, which operates 11a to 11p.
They still have to pay because it is not a complaint that needs
to be seen in
We operate with a 5 level triage system and the people this pertains to are
classified as non or semi urgent. All of those classified as urgent are seen the main ER and not asked for payment up front. They are asked for their insurance copays or partial payment as the situation allows.
Many doctor's offices send their pts to the ER during the daytime which I find a huge part of the problem contributing to the already broken health care system. I have also found, after 15 yrs inthe ER, that doctors send their Medicare patients to the ER quite regularly and the complaints are usually not an emergency.
As this has been a practice in my community for awhile, I can't comment on the initial reaction of the public. I worked in a county trauma center when this started a couple of years ago, and of course the county hospital did not have this policy.
I did see a bit on the local news about a mnth ago reporting that the county hospital was finally going to implement this. Haven't heard how its going, but I'll bet they had to beef up security!!