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Courtesy Parmer Medical Center

Release Date: June 6, 2011

Emergency Room Procedures Changing

In recent years, hospital Emergency Departments across the nation have seen an increasingly larger number of patients, and a significant percentage of those patients do not actually have a true medical emergency.  Instead, very often the Emergency Department is inappropriately used as a resource for primary care services (i.e. coughs, sore throats, colds, and other conditions which should be addressed in an outpatient clinic setting).  Parmer Medical Center (PMC) is not immune to this trend, as Emergency Department visits at PMC are rising, including increasingly larger numbers of individuals using the Emergency Department for primary care services.  Common reasons for seeking primary care services in the Emergency Department rather than the physician clinic typically include: 1) a desire to avoid wait times at the clinic, 2) inconvenient to take off work during daytime clinic hours, and 3) a common misperception that hospitals cannot charge for services rendered in the Emergency Department.
Using very costly Emergency Department resources for primary care services not only creates an operational burden by pulling resources away from patients with true medical emergencies, but it places a financial burden on the hospital and the taxpayers who support it.  In an effort to most responsibly and effectively serve those patients who present to the Emergency Department with true medical emergencies and to promote appropriate use of Emergency Department resources, effective June 15, 2011 Parmer Medical Center will be implementing new procedures in the Emergency Department related to the treatment of non-emergent conditions.
As is required by federal regulation, it is PMC standard protocol that every person presenting to the Emergency Department seeking medical care will undergo a Medical Screening Exam (MSE) to determine if an emergency medical condition does exist.  As of June 15th, if it is determined following the MSE that a patient does not have an emergency medical condition, the patient will then be given the opportunity to select one of the two following options:  1) seek medical services in an outpatient physician clinic setting, or 2) continue treatment in the PMC Emergency Department with payment at the time of service, including any co-pay, deductible or co-insurance.  No procedural changes are being made regarding patients who present to the PMC Emergency Department with a true medical emergency.

PMC remains committed to serving you with excellence in all aspects of the hospital operation, and we appreciate your cooperation and partnership.