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Providing the Right Care at the Right Place and Time

Ashland Health Center Announces the
Implementation of Immediate Care Clinic
Its 8 p.m. on Friday, and Sara has just laid Adrian (not their real names), her 13-month-old son, down for the night. Both are exhausted, as Adrian has been fussy and congested throughout the day.
Less than an hour later, Sara is awoken by the strained cries of her son. It quickly becomes apparent that Adrian is dealing with much more than being hungry or wet.
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In many rural communities, an expensive visit to the emergency room is the only option available when the outpatient clinic is closed.
Until now. Ashland Health Center announces the implementation of their Immediate Care Clinic.
No, his cries are easily identifiable that something is truly wrong – he is in pain with a low fever. After trying various remedies, nothing has helped. Now almost midnight, of course the Outpatient Clinic at Ashland Health Center is closed until Monday morning.

Is Adrian’s condition a life-threatening emergency? Likely not. But no matter. For as any parent in this situation knows, nothing else is of greater importance than making the child feel better immediately. Sara brings Adrian into the Emergency Room at Ashland Health Center.

With the assessment, it was discovered that Adrian’s cold had developed into an ear infection. He was given drops to relieve the pain in his ears and antibiotics to alleviate the infection.

The ear drops worked quickly, and soon both Sara and Adrian were back home getting some much needed sleep. With the antibiotics, the ear infection will be gone within a few days, and they will be coming to the Outpatient Clinic for a follow-up visit.

“We are grateful to be here and provide care for Sara and Adrian when they need it,” says Roger Barnhart, CEO of Ashland Health Center. “When caring for our community, our task is always providing the right care, in the right place at the right time.”
Unfortunately, a late night and expensive visit to the ER is often the only option when the Outpatient Clinic – with set schedules – is closed. Until now. Rather than a visit to the ER, costing hundreds of dollars more for a condition that could have been treated within the Outpatient Clinic, Ashland Health Center will begin offering an Immediate Care Clinic in early 2015.
Just as they are now, when coming to Ashland Health, a patient will be assessed by a Registered Nurse. Then, triaged as either an emergency or non-emergency. An emergency will be treated as such. If non-emergent, the patient will be given the option to be seen as early as possible at the Outpatient Clinic, or when the need is urgent – as was Sara’s – the patient will be treated within the Immediate Care Clinic.

“Between the Emergency Room, Immediate Care and Outpatient Clinics, the least expensive option is to be seen at the Outpatient Clinic,” explains Dan Shuman, DO, Medical Director for Ashland Health. “But when the Outpatient Clinic is closed, a visit to Immediate Care will provide the same level of care, by the same providers at a much lower cost than that of the ER.”

The addition of the Immediate Care merges the Outpatient Clinic level of services with the accessibility of the Emergency Room. Just as with the Outpatient Clinic, there will be a fee assessed at each visit. But, the cost will be significantly less than when they would otherwise have had to use the ER.

“For our community, we are simply adding another option to ensure we are providing the right care, in the right place at the right time,” says Barnhart. “Sara is a mom wanting to make Adrian feel better. Her need was not an emergency, but certainly was urgent. We can now continue providing that care, but do so with far greater savings to her.”

When arriving at Ashland Health Center, a Registered Nurse will be performing a clinical assessment to determine if the need is appropriate for Immediate or Emergency care.
Should the Outpatient Clinic be closed, the Immediate Care is a great alternative to the Emergency Room for certain types of minor to moderate illnesses and injuries, including:
  • Fevers, colds and flu
  • Cuts that need sutures
  • An illness or injury that requires X-rays or laboratory tests
  • Broken bones that need setting and casting
  • Sprains and strains
  • Other general cuts and injuries
The Emergency Room will be used for life-threatening illnesses and injuries, including:
  • Chest or abdominal pain/pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Uncontrollable bleeding or severe trauma
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden and/or severe pain
  • Sudden dizziness, changes in vision, or weakness
  • Sudden changes in mental abilities, especially marked confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
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