Chicago Hospital to Halt New Emergency Department Policies After Criticism

Kathleen Louden

March 16, 2009 (Chicago, Illinois) — After 2 national emergency physician groups took the unusual action of separately voicing concerns last month about emergency department (ED) policies at a large Chicago hospital — policies they believe could reduce patient access and quality of care — the hospital has said it will reconsider its policies.

At the center of the controversy is the University of Chicago Medical Center, which recently announced reorganization plans, including reducing the number of inpatient beds available to emergency patients by more than 30 and expanding efforts to redirect to other hospitals and clinics those ED patients who do not need emergency care. The tertiary care hospital, which has a high percentage of Medicaid patients, reported that about one third of the patients who come to its ED have nonurgent conditions. In a news release last month, the medical center said the changes, along with other cost-cutting measures, were needed to "meet today's financial challenges."

The University of Chicago Medical Center has decided to halt plans to redirect patients deemed nonurgent from its ED to other facilities, the Chicago Tribune reported on Saturday. The move came after external and internal protests of the plans.

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Well, Since I work in an ER and figure about 50% are not emergent, frankly I’m all infavor of redirecting non emergent patients to an urgent care center. I see nothing wrong with keeping the ER load to emergent patients. The “non emergent” patients are those who have no doctor, no insurance and use the ER as their family doctor thereby bogging down the system. As long as good care is rendered, what’s wrong with sending chronic back pain, dental pain, coughs and runny noses, migraines, ear aches, cuts sprains, bruises etc to an urgent care center. Is it just an issue of (gag) political correctness and discrimination???
yes, philosophically i have no problem with what you say, but that does reflect the scope of change that was enacted.




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