Healthcare When, Where and How you Want It

Healthcare When, Where and How you Want It

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 St. Elizabeth Physicians is opening its Express Care Clinics.

St. Elizabeth Physicians is opening its Express Care Clinics, as part of its new Convenient Care program, which was designed to meet the community’s growing demand for various levels of more accessible care, even at night and on weekends. The facilities and services under this new line of care include:

• St. Elizabeth After-Hours in Crestview Hills: Primary Care Physicians offering after-hours and Sunday appointments for current St. Elizabeth Physicians patients.

• Express Care in Highland Heights and soon-to-be in Independence: Walk-in clinics, staffed by Nurse Practitioners, and open to all individuals age 2 and older, to treat minor illnesses and injuries, as well as provide urinalyses, blood sugar tests and vaccinations for those 12 and older. These clinics, however, do not provide blood work, pregnancy tests, physicals, X-rays, stitches or treat fractures.

• Urgent Care (opening in January at the new medical office building adjacent to St. Elizabeth Ft. Thomas, and in spring 2014 in south Florence): These physician-staffed clinics will be equipped to deal with any of the issues treated at Express Care Clinics, as well as sprains, strains, fractures, minor lacerations, and other issues that still do not require full-scale Emergency Department treatment.


Meeting the community’s growing need for Primary Healthcare
St. Elizabeth Physicians Chief Operating Officer, Jacob Bast, says there are three main reasons that the multi-specialty physician organization decided to create these new services. First, a growing number of people want on-demand, walk-in healthcare available on their schedules, but current retail clinic options fail to maintain a continuum of care with a Primary Care physician. Second, the nation is suffering a shortage of Primary Care doctors.


“The services offered in our Convenient Care locations afford patients better access to convenient Primary Care despite this problem,” Bast says.


“And finally, we’re seeing a number of health insurers beginning to curtail payment for Emergency Department visits they deem not to be true emergencies.”


Of course, St. Elizabeth Healthcare still offers five emergency departments across Northern Kentucky, where the staff is always willing and able to treat all manner of healthcare concerns. But, the goal of Convenient Care is to give area residents better access to the appropriate level of care at the time it’s needed, even if it’s not an emergency and even if you don’t have a family doctor.


“So ideally, if a patient has a simple sore throat, they don’t need to come to our Emergency Department because they have other more suitable options,” says St. Elizabeth Emergency Physician, Dr. John Sherman.


“If they can get in fairly quickly, they can see their family doctor. But, if they can’t, they can go to our Urgent Care. Of course, they can still come to the Emergency Department, but it’s probably going to be more expensive out of pocket for them and a greater cost to the whole system.”


Ultimately, it’s all about the doctor-patient relationship
Dr. Sherman and Bast agree that it will take some time and education before this community becomes truly adept at knowing which health concerns to take to which provider. They also agree that true emergencies – where life or limb is threatened – should always be taken to a hospital emergency department.


Remember also, that if you go to Express or Urgent Care and the healthcare professionals there deem your condition more serious, they will refer you to the nearest Emergency Department and even begin communicating details of your condition to emergency staff while you are in transit.


In fact, thorough communication with your healthcare providers is yet another benefit of these new services. If, for instance, you’re a St. Elizabeth Physicians patient, your doctor will be notified of your visit and your treatment records will be entered into your medical chart via St. Elizabeth’s electronic medical record system. Physicians of those who see doctors outside of St. Elizabeth’s network will receive notification via facsimile.


And if you visit an Express or Urgent Care and have no primary care doctor, the center’s staff will work to connect you with one in your area. After all, the goal of all this is your continued good health.


“Healthcare, at its roots, is really about the relationship between a patient and a physician,” says Bast.


“Whatever we can put in place that offers convenient, ready access for patients — which eventually lends itself to that person’s relationship with a Primary Care Physician — is the type of services we want to offer.”

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.