Emergency rooms around the country are so crowded these days that they’re urging patients with symptoms of influenza to go to urgent care centers instead of the ED, unless they’re experiencing shortness of breath, debilitating cough, or other serious concerns. Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio, for one, announced in the local media that due to a surge in flu cases patients with symptoms should contact their primary care providers or head directly to an urgent care center for testing and, if warranted, treatment. One hospital official was even quoted as saying urgent care is “the appropriate place to be treated if you are not experiencing some of the more severe symptoms.” That’s not only as close to an endorsement as you’ll get from an EM provider, but also a statement that underscores the importance of building good relationships with health systems in your area. If they don’t have their own urgent care properties to which patients can be channeled, make sure they know you’re close by and able to see patients in much less time. Provide brochures, or maybe just a one-page introduction that includes your facility’s name, address, hours of operation, contact information, and website.
Health Systems Are Pleading with Flu Patients to Go to Urgent Care