2010-03-03 / Front Page

Hospital limits emergency room policy

By Anne Marie Kyzer

Burke Medical Center is putting the brakes on patients using the emergency room as a clinic.

A new policy went into effect Monday that will require patients who seek treatment at hospital’s ER to be screened upon arrival for the urgency of their condition, according to hospital administrator Jennifer Royal.

Patients who are deemed non-emergent will not be treated unless they are willing to pay an insurance co-payment or $100 upfront. Those who choose not to stay will be provided with a community resource list that includes a listing of physicians and clinics that are available, Royal said.

The policy was developed and approved by the medical staff and the Burke County Hospital Authority in order to limit the use of the emergency room as a treatment center for all types and levels of illness.

“It came from issues we saw in the hospital, and we are also following the trend of other facilities,” Royal said. “It’s basically to keep people from over utilizing the emergency room. A lot of times people come in here for things that do not really need to be treated in the emergency room or that would be better suited for a physician’s office or a clinic.”

Return to top