Hospital Corner – February, 2019
Emergency or Urgent? No one should be surprised to hear that trips to the Emergency Room are far more expensive, on average, than walk-in Urgent Care or a Clinic appointment. Recent data (2013) from the National Institutes of Health indicate that most Urgent visits cost about $100 to $150 (depending on co-pay, level of treatment, etc.) compared to an ER visit that typically exceeds $1500! In addition to cost, time is another factor to consider. Urgent visitors (on a first-come, first-serve basis) usually wait about 30 minutes to be seen; average ER wait times, from start to finish, are closer to three hours (patients prioritized based on severity of health condition).
In Mineral County now, two options: make a Clinic appointment or show up at the ER. We are trying to change that. Once policies and procedures are in place, we plan to offer a modified version of Urgent Care weekdays, morning to late night. As required by Federal law, qualified medical personnel will perform a medical screening to determine whether emergent or urgent, followed by care in the most appropriate setting. Why go to all this trouble? Simple answer is that about 75% of Mt. Grant ER patients are not experiencing life-threatening injuries or symptoms (the justification for emergency care). Look for more information in the coming months; as always, stop by as well if you wish to discuss further. In the meantime, call the Nurse Health Line for guidance if you are not sure if your health issue is actually an emergency or something less critical. Registered Nurses are awaiting your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (775) 341-6161.
Last month I touted the skills of our Clinic primary care providers; not to be forgotten is a tremendous supporting cast of ER providers, who stand ready around the clock. Doctors Ward and Mullins make the trip from California each month to share their many talents with us. They speak highly of Mt. Grant General, our energetic hospital staff and the overall positive attitude found here (apparently not common at all healthcare facilities). Also deserving kudos: MGGH Physician Assistants Kunzler, Cain, and Sessions. They travel great distances weekly to provide emergency care services. No need to explain why they journey so far—you already know the answer!
As many are keenly aware, our community has few social safety net services available (home health, hospice, etc.). Though not created or intended to do so, our community paramedicine program has become a de facto substitute for some of those services. Hard for us to say no to homebound seniors or the chronically ill who need a wellness or medication compliance check, home safety evaluation, or ensure nebulizer is working properly. MGGH’s Community Paramedic does that and more each day; thank you, Charlie.
This month is Andy Stinson’s last with the hospital. As his long-term coworker (and new maintenance supervisor) Randy Canady recently remarked, Andy’s “retirement is a bittersweet situation. I couldn’t be HAPPIER for him, but I will miss him a lot.” Andy’s colleagues at Mt. Grant feel exactly the same. His legacy is not just the continuous improvements to hospital buildings and grounds over the years, but also the pride MGGH employees have in this facility, its mission, and the community it serves. His example and leadership inspire us all.
Never too late to thank the many volunteers who have made a difference in the lives of residents and patients in recent months! Much appreciation to Claudia Benton, Soroptomist Club, F- Troop, MCHS Cheerleaders, MCHS Staff (especially Mr. Gavin), Smoky Valley Community Church (Round Mountain), and the Mason Valley Boys & Girls Club. We are forever in your debt.
Hugh Qualls, Administrator