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All posts tagged emergency-room

Think you need to go to ER? If your insurer doesn’t agree, you could pay – WHAS 11.com

(Photo: Thinkstock / Getty Images, Custom)

(INDYSTAR.com) – Indiana Anthem policyholders may soon discover that what they consider a medical emergency does not necessarily align with what their insurer considers a medical emergency.

Under a new program, Anthem will require Indiana policyholders who seek emergency care for certain nonemergency ailments to foot the emergency room bill. The insurer would still pick up the tab if the patient opted to go to a retail health clinic, urgent care center or doctors office.

Concerns over the high costs of emergency room care, combined with overcrowded emergency rooms, led to the new policy, said company spokesman Tony Felts in an email.

The ultimate goal of this is to encourage more efficient utilization of health care resources, relieve pressure on ERs that are already stretched thin and strengthen the relationship between our members and their primary care doctors, who are in the best position to influence the health of their patients, Felts wrote.

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Emergency room care costs 12 to 18 times as much as a visit to a retail health clinic, eight to 12 times as much as a visit to a doctors office and six to seven times more than an urgent care visit.

While Anthem officials say they have not yet set the date for when the program will begin in Indiana, it is already in place in three other states.

Emergency room doctors and patient advocates decry the new policies, saying they put patients in the uncomfortable position of making critical decisions about their health, when time may be of the essence.

Patients will be too often forced to be their own doctors, said Scott Mulhauser, board member of the advocacy group Consumers for Quality Care. Consumers shouldnt be evaluating their care in these tense moments . You dont want to guess wrong because the consequence can change your life forever.

With the new policy, patients may delay getting care they need, afraid of incurring a hefty bill, said Dr. Chris Burke, a board member of the Indiana American College of Emergency Physicians.

Because many nonemergent conditions present with similar symptoms to emergency ones, identifying the true emergencies can be challenging for a lay person, he added.

The problem is that many diagnoses, their symptoms overlap, and without a thorough evaluation by a physician, you cant tell until that evaluation is complete, said Burke, an emergency room physician with Medical Associates who practices at Community Hospitals East and North. Its wrong to insist that patients should self-diagnose. Most are not able to do that. I think most who come to the emergency department believe that they have a problem.

A patient could misinterpret a bad headache, for instance, as a migraine, failing to recognize it as a stroke that requires emergency care. Or nausea or indigestion could be mistaken for a gastrointestinal condition rather than a heart attack.

If a patient with the same symptoms wrongly concludes a heart attack, the good news that the condition was not more serious could lead to the bad news of being saddled with the full bill for the emergency care.

This past week, the advocacy group sent Indiana Insurance Commissioner Stephen Robertson a letter asking that he reject the policy.

The insurance department conducted a review and decided not to act further, said Jenifer Groth, director of communication and outreach.

“IDOI completed its review and determined the program is not changing any prior coverage and does not constitute a procedural or benefit change,” she wrote in an email. “The program is to make policyholders aware of the process for payment of ER claims by sending information that outlines how coverage of claims will be handled.”

Anthem officials say that they decided to implement the policy after studies showed that about 75 percent of the 6.5 million emergency room visits made by those younger than 65 annually are for conditions that do not actually require immediate medical care.

Four emergency room doctors helped the insurer draw up a list of about 300 medical codes that would be considered nonemergencies, such as suture removal, athletes foot and the common cold, Felts said in an email.

A medical director will review any claim made for care delivered in an emergency room rather than a more appropriate setting. The symptoms that drove the patient to the emergency room also will be taken into account, he said.

Only about 10 percent of all 190,000 emergency room visits in Indiana annually would be reviewed, and likely only about 4 percent would be denied, Felts said.

But according to the companys own research of its policyholders, many patients dont necessarily know where to go for immediate care. About two-thirds go to the emergency room if they are sick and the doctors office is closed. One-quarter think the emergency room is the best place to go no matter their ailment or the time of day.

Half of those surveyed said they knew about retail health clinics and walk-in centers and opt for the emergency room and just under three-quarters of people who have made emergency room visits are familiar with urgent care centers.

While Anthem said that concerns about rising health costs and overcrowding contributed to the development of the new policy, Burke, who has been in practice for three decades, said that this policy will likely have little impact on either of those.

Emergency room care nationwide only accounts for about 2 percent of health costs, he said. While crowded emergency rooms do exist, its often because theres no room in the hospital to admit patients, rather than rampant overuse.

Anthem has already put the program into effect in Kentucky, Missouri and Georgia and could eventually extend it to additional markets. Each state market determines its own list of what will and wont be covered, Felts said. In Indiana about 300 out of 2,000 diagnoses considered to be nonemergencies are included in the new policy.

The policy will not apply to pediatric patients younger than 14, those referred to the emergency room by medical providers, visits made on Sundays or holidays when other clinics and offices are closed and for patients who live farther than 15 miles from an urgent care facility.

Ideally, the new policy will strengthen the relationship between patients and their primary care providers, Felts said in a statement.

[W]e are committed to promoting care delivery in the most appropriate clinical setting; for nonemergent care, generally this is the patients primary care provider, he said. Anthem believes that primary care doctors are in the best position to have a comprehensive view of their patients health status and should be the first medical professional patients see with any non-emergency medical concerns.

But health care advocate Mulhauser said that the policy could actually lead to high health expenditures if people wind up delaying needed care and end up worse off than if they had seen a health professional in a timely fashion.

When time matters and in those crisis situations, you want to feel the comfort of knowing that youre getting best medical care possible and not worrying about whether or not your insurer will cover your visit in a split second, he said. Forcing patients to make their own medical decisions that create incentives for them not to get the care they need can create real problems.”

Call IndyStar reporter Shari Rudavsky at (317) 444-6354. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

INDYSTAR.com

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Think you need to go to ER? If your insurer doesn’t agree, you could pay – WHAS 11.com

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Exclusive: Nation’s first airport emergency room opening at DFW International – Dallas Business Journal


Dallas Business Journal
Exclusive: Nation's first airport emergency room opening at DFW International
Dallas Business Journal
Smack dab in the middle of the heavily saturated North Texas market for freestanding emergency rooms and urgent care centers, Dr. Carrie de Moor found a void. And it's bigger than the island of Manhattan.

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Exclusive: Nation’s first airport emergency room opening at DFW International – Dallas Business Journal

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Virtual Consultations With Doctors Speed Up Non-Emergency ER Visits At Area Hospital – CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Have you ever gone to the emergency room for a cut or a sprain, or maybe if you were running a fever? Chances are you waited a pretty long time to be seen and treated.

But as CBS2s Dr. Max Gomez reported, one hospital is now using telemedicine to make the ER visits faster and less stressful. And the doctor does not even have to be in the room.

In most ERs, anywhere from a third to half of all patients are not real suffering from real emergencies. A sprained ankle, of course, is not life-threatening.

Thus, while those who go to the ER still need a doctor, but the doctors are busy seeing patients with heart attacks, strokes and major trauma so those with less serious conditions have to wait.

But maybe not at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The express care service in the ER at the Upper East Side hospital involves a doctor who sees patients through a virtual connection on a screen.

The innovative use of telemedicine technology is the brainchild of the emergency physician-in-chief, Dr. Rahul Sharma. It is designed to ease waiting times and more importantly, improve care for real emergencies.

Some of these non-emergent patients or urgent care type patients could take resources away from our more critical patients, our nurses, our doctors, other staff members that are taking care of the more critical patients, Sharma said.

When a patient comes into the ER, they go through standard triage and screening in person from a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. If they are deemed a non-emergency, they are asked if they would like to see a board-certified emergency medicine physician virtually in a private room.

Immediately, I felt that I was one-on-one with the physician. The screen was gone. I was able to feel her empathy and her caring about what happened to me and how I was feeling and what to do, said Mary Anne Gallagher, who was treated for an injured ankle.

But if at any point the patient is uncomfortable or the situation is more serious than originally thought, the main emergency room is right outside the door.

Dr. Alexis Halpern is one of several ER doctors who can see patients at several sites and on a mobile app all from one location via telemedicine. She feels in some ways, it is actually better medicine.

We dont have all of the interruptions that we often get in an emergency department whether it be other patients that need things, nurses that have questions, whatever it is, we can focus directly on each other, Halpern said.

The patient and doctor work together, taking a picture of their sore throat or pushing on tender areas. If a patient needs a blood test, an X-ray or another exam, staff are available to help in person.

In the year or so the telemedicine emergency room has been in use, the average non-emergency visit has gone from two and a half to three hours to under 40 minutes.

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Virtual Consultations With Doctors Speed Up Non-Emergency ER Visits At Area Hospital – CBS New York

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New Emergency Room is Ready for Patients at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills – Benzinga

Florida Hospital Zephyrhills has recently completed a $5 million state-of-the-art renovation for its Emergency Room (ER) that is now open to the public.

ZEPHYRHILLS, FL (PRWEB) August 17, 2017

Florida Hospital Zephyrhills showcased its newly renovated $5 million Emergency Room (ER) on Wednesday, August 16, to community partners. The newly renovated ER was designed with patients in mind and offers: 24 private rooms, a designated “Fast Track” area for minor emergencies, eight semi-private rooms to deliver patient results, improve efficiencies and reduce length of stay, two pirate-themed pediatric rooms and an expanded Clinical Decision Unit (CDU) close to the ER. The CDU has 20 private beds for patients who require an extended period of testing, evaluation, treatment and observation.

“Following 18 months of construction, our ER has been completely redesigned to ensure greater patient comfort, privacy, and timely attention to our patients’ emergency medical needs,” said Alexander Garcia, MD, Florida Hospital Zephyrhills ER Medical Director. “We’ve streamlined the registration process, improved the flow for better efficiency and upgraded our Fast Track area. In addition, we created a pediatric-friendly environment to support our younger patients, as we’ve experienced an increase in pediatric visits over the past several years.”

Last year, Florida Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital announced an exclusive affiliation to deliver high quality pediatric care, where parents and caregivers can access care closer to home for pediatric patients in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. That includes access points in Florida Hospital emergency rooms throughout the Greater Tampa Bay area, as well as Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. The ER at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills is staffed with board certified emergency room (ER) physicians who have adopted clinical protocols from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital’s evidencebased standards of care for pediatric emergency medicine. If children need a higher level of care beyond the ER, they will be transferred to be seen by a Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital physician, either in Hillsborough or Pinellas county, depending on geography and level of acuity.

During Phase I of construction at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, a new lobby was created that includes a separate, pirate-themed pediatric area. Here, children have access to three interactive game kiosks offering a variety of games to help keep them entertained during their ER visit. Distracting children can be very helpful in reducing pain and anxiety for children who are sick, and it helps keep siblings entertained so pediatric patients can receive medical care.

The new ER design is enhanced by spa-like colors, an airy environment, coffee bar, snack machines, and restrooms for family members and guests. It also includes a security station in the main lobby of the ER to help keep all ER visitors safe and secure.

“Last year we had more than 35,000 emergency room visits,” said Seta Ruiz, RN, Emergency Department and Clinical Decision Unit Director for Florida Hospital Zephyrhills. “Our community is constantly growing and this renovation will help us stay at the forefront of servicing our county’s emergency care needs.”

About Florida Hospital Zephyrhills Florida Hospital Zephyrhills is an award winning 149-bed regional medical center located in East Pasco County. It is a proud member of the Adventist Health System, providing a legacy of health and healing for more than 150 years. The hospital offers the only comprehensive cardiovascular program in East and Central Pasco County, including open heart surgery and valve repair. Equipped with eight technologically advanced surgical suites, the hospital provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient surgical services including, but not limited to general, orthopedic, endoscopic, gynecology, urology, cardiovascular and robotic procedures. The Women’s Health Center at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills provides gynecology, urology, pelvic floor health, obstetrics and breast care through the Simpson Breast Health Center. And, the hospital’s newly renovated ER delivers emergency medical care 24/7 with a fast track suite for minor emergencies. Other programs and services include a Wellness Center, Wellness Spa, Center for Wound Healing, Bone and Joint Center, Outpatient Rehabilitation and Diagnostic Imaging. To learn more visit FHZeph.org.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14611311.htm

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New Emergency Room is Ready for Patients at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills – Benzinga

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HB and Costa Mesa account for more than 1200 opioid-related ER visits in 4-year period in OC study – Los Angeles Times

Emergency room visits stemming from opioid use increased by 141% in Orange County from 2005 to 2015, with large numbers of patients coming from Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Anaheim and Santa Ana, according to a study released this week by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

More recently, between 2011 and 2015, 7,457 Orange County residents went to an emergency room for treatment of opioid addiction or overdose, according to the report.

Anaheim residents with 782 cases sought ER help most often during that four-year period. Huntington Beach, with 726 cases, was a close second. Santa Ana had the third-most cases with 631, and Costa Mesa was fourth with 559, according to the data.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, opioids are powerful pain-reducing drugs that include prescription oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine, among others.

These medications can help manage pain when prescribed for the right condition and when used properly. But when misused or abused, they can cause serious harm, including addiction, overdose and death, according to the FDA.

Opioids also include the illegal drug heroin.

In line with national trends, Orange County has seen an increase in drug overdose deaths in the past 15 years, according to the health agency.

Drug overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, which is alarming, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said in a statement. There must be a community effort of individuals, private and nonprofit organizations and the government to reduce the number of people dying in this completely preventable manner.

Anaheim had 123 opioid-related deaths from 2011 to 2015, the most in the county, according to the study. Huntington Beach had 106, the second-most.

Santa Ana had 91 deaths and Costa Mesa 65, according to the report.

The majority of overdoses were accidental, and more than half the opioid-related deaths stemmed from overdoses of prescription medications. Deaths caused by illicit opioids like heroin accounted for 19% of overdose cases, according to the study.

Residents ages 18 to 34 were most likely to visit an emergency room because of an opioid overdose, the report states.

To review the report, visit bit.ly/2uMVpcM.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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HB and Costa Mesa account for more than 1200 opioid-related ER visits in 4-year period in OC study – Los Angeles Times

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Exeter Hospital emergency room evacuated after suspected chemical leak – CBS News

Last Updated Aug 11, 2017 2:28 PM EDT

Seventeen staff members were evacuated from the Exeter Hospital operating room in New Hampshire after they began to feel dizzy.

In a statement, Exeter Hospital said staff and patients in the operating room complained of dizziness Friday morning due to “an unknown cause.” The hospital said it closed the emergency and operating rooms “out of an abundance of caution.”

The Epping Fire Department said it was dispatched for a carbon monoxide problem.

The emergency room, which is located near the operating room, was evacuated as a precaution, CBS Boston reports, even though no patients in that area complained of dizziness.

Aerial footage from CBS Bostonshowed multiple patients in hospital beds outside the facility.

The scene outside Exeter Hospital in Exeter, New Hampshire, after the emergency room and operating room were evacuated on Aug. 11, 2017.

CBS Boston

No odor was detected prior to staff members feeling ill.

“What we know is patients were being treated in the [operating room] with flu-like symptoms when those treating them also started feeling ill, so the OR was shut down and people were moved to the ER for treatment,” said town manager Russell Dean. “The same thing happened there, so the ER was shut down and a staging area has been set up outside the main hospital, with patients being transported to area hospitals.”

Dean said “source of the issue is being investigated as a possible leak of some kind.”

2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Exeter Hospital emergency room evacuated after suspected chemical leak – CBS News

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Total Solar Eclipse, Emergency Room Readiness – FOX10 News

(WALA) –

On a given day you never know what’s going to happen inside the emergency rooms. “Our job is to be ready for any type of emergency at any time.”

Al Babcock is one of eight ER doctors at Springhill Medical Center. Right now they’re working to get the word out about viewing the solar eclipse. On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one. Mobile won’t be in that path, but the area will observe 80%eclipse.

“Because I know there’s going to be something really cool to look at in the sky and people are going to want to look at itand the retina does not feel painso people aren’t going to know they are doing damage,” Dr. Babcock explains.

Proper eye protection is key! We’ve been forewarned about the importance of proper eye wear while viewing the eclipse, still Babcock says injuries will happen.”My concern is that we will see a lot of eye injures from people who didn’t actually practice proper prevention and measures to look at the sun,” Dr. Babcock says.

That damage could be temporary or permanent.

“There are two types of injuries that we worry about from the emergency room and one is treatableit’s called Ultraviolet Keratitis and that’s essentially a sunburn of the eyethe outside covering of the eye can get a sunburn just like our skin can get a sunburn.”

UV Keratitis is treatable. Retinal burns-or what’s called eclipse blindness is more severe. Either way, he says the staff is prepared.

“I am confident. This is what we prepare forthis is what we doit’s kind of like an old bunch of Boy Scouts…always be prepared so it’s literally one of the Wave busescrashes on I 65 we’ve got to be ready for it,” he adds.

Symptoms to look out for include: loss of central vision, distorted or altered colored vision. If you have any of these symptoms after viewing the eclipse, seek medical treatment immediately.

For more safety information on viewing the eclipse, check outhttps://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.

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Total Solar Eclipse, Emergency Room Readiness – FOX10 News

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PeaceHealth Emergency Department sees uptick in heat & smoke-related illnesses – KVAL

PeaceHealth Riverbend is seeing a spike in emergency room patients from heat and smoke-related illnesses. (SBG)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Thanks to triple-digit temperatures and unhealthy air quality, PeaceHealth Riverbend is seeing a spike in emergency room patients.

“I went outside and tried to do a couple things, and here I am,” patient Bobby Eaton said. “Wednesday I went outside just for a little while and I came in the house. My wife says, ‘You don’t look so good,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m having troubles breathing.'”

Eaton has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which obstructs his lungs.

“It’s never gotten this bad where I’ve had to come to the hospital. This is the worst it’s ever been for me,” he said.

Emergency Department Registered Nurse Teresa Wilson says she’s seeing a lot of patients with breathing problems this week.

“With the hot air stagnating with the increased pollen we have, as well as the smoke, it’s just a really bad kind of trifecta that’s happening to people with respiratory distress,” she said.

She’s also seeing more cases of dehydration: “The heat over the past couple days was all it took. A lot of people don’t have air conditioning, a lot of people don’t pare back their activities just because it’s 104 outside; they don’t realize their vulnerabilities.”

The Emergency Department is much busier than usual.

“It would be like when we have the flu season. You can have the flu season come and it was very very busy in January. This isn’t the flu but it is a situation where the environment is affecting someone’s health,” Wilson said. “Probably about a thirty percent increase of people coming into the ED, but more importantly, requiring admission. Whereas before they might have been able to get treated and go home.”

Just like Eaton, who’s been there for several days: “It eventually will get better but I’m just gonna have to be more cautious about what the hell is going on outside with this weather ya know.”

Wilson says everyone should pay attention to the conditions, drink water and limit time outside when it’s smokey.

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PeaceHealth Emergency Department sees uptick in heat & smoke-related illnesses – KVAL

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Emergency Room wait times are getting worse at UNM Hospital – KOAT Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

Wait times at UNM Hospitals emergency room are getting worse.

The most recent information from UNMH is from April, and shows the average wait times for patients in the adult emergency room is nine hours and 30 minutes.

Thats two hours longer than it was a year before.

Its also more than double the national average of about four hours.

It takes such a long time, said Nyira Gitana, who took her friend to the UNMH emergency room Tuesday.

She said they spent 14 hours in the emergency room.

A spokesperson said the hospital has implemented changes in the last six months to improve wait times, but say the hospital is usually more than 90 percent full.

That means on its busiest days, there are more patients than available beds, and that could leave you waiting for a very long time.

Gitana said that is exactly what they experienced.

She had to lay on a gurney. It was horrible and there were no rooms, said Gitana.

Gitana also said the wait in the packed emergency room wasnt very pleasant.

I thought I was walking into a refugee camp, that’s how awful it was. Some of them were drunk, some of them were mentally ill, she said.

Gitana said APD officers and hospital security were doing what they could to control things, but said it was all very overwhelming.

Despite the long wait time, Gitana said she has no complaints about the care her friend received from the medical staff at UNMH.

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Emergency Room wait times are getting worse at UNM Hospital – KOAT Albuquerque

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Decatur Memorial Hospital to expand emergency room care – Herald & Review

DECATUR Decatur Memorial Hospital is taking strides to improve the services provided in the emergency room through a new partnership.

The Mid-America Emergency Physicians group has begun providing emergency medical care at DMH, said Tim Stone, president and CEO of DMH. The team will include emergency medicine physicians, specially trained ER nurses and care staff.

Since February, DMH is a qualified Level II trauma care center.

While we provided good services, we just wanted to take it up to a higher level, Stone said during a news conference at the hospital. Not everyone can do that.

Different levels refer to the kinds of resources available in a trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly, according to the American Trauma Society.

HSHS St. Marys Hospital partners with the regional trauma center at HSHS St. Johns Hospital in Springfield, a certified Level I trauma center and a certified Level II pediatric trauma center, according to its website.

The Mid-America Emergency Physicians group, led by Dr. Ted Clark, will help build a relationship between the DMH emergency room and the community doctors patients see every day, Clark said. This will improve the overall quality of care for patients whose doctors are knowledgeable of their conditions before they arrive at the emergency room.

If patients come into the emergency department, I want them to know who I am, and I want a community doctor to know who I am when I call, said Clark, the medical director at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

The new partnership also will provide telehealth services, which work to improve rural patients’ access to health care, as well as emergency room doctors’ access to other doctors. The Illinois Heart Specialists, DMH Express Care and DMH Family Medicine use these services.

Doctors will now have resources available to them when they need a second opinion or have questions.

Another aspect of the partnership is to establish an emergency room residency training program like the Mid-America Emergency Physicians group has at Memorial Medical Center.

Another important factor for community relationships, Clark said, is recruiting and retaining people to stay (in Decatur) so there are more local doctors.

These announcements will contribute to an initiative to assign every patient to a primary doctor, Stone said, which decreases emergency room business but improves the quality of health care for patients.

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Decatur Memorial Hospital to expand emergency room care – Herald & Review

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