Patients needing ER care choosing other facilities to avoid long lines

Posted at 6:26 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 06:33:39-04

There's a way around those long lines in the emergency room. Urgent care clinics can handle many of the cases that unnecessarily keep the emergency room pretty busy. Four In Your Corner found many people are seeking urgent care when they would be better served at the hospital. 

Kaitlin Rogers, a customer service representative with Lee Health says at the Lee Health Convenient Care facility on Summerlin road, she sees anywhere from 150 to 180 patients a day this time of year. She says on some days there is no room to sit inside.

"It's pretty crazy. There's people waiting inside and outside. There's people all over the place," Rogers said.

Dr. Ojash Raval who also works at the Summerlin location says he sees about 45 to 60 patients a day and on any given day about 15 patients are sent from their facility to the emergency room because what patients really need is emergency care. He says patients with severe cases are sometimes choosing to go to urgent cares instead of the hospital.

"They tell us they didn't want to wait in the ER so they come here," he said.

Dr. Raval says it's no secret the wait times at the ER and convenient care facilities can get pretty high during this time of year because of the influx of people in town.

"They don't want to wait in the ER and that's the issue that we see sometimes but they know they should have gone to the ER."

Unable to determine which care is needed could lead to overcrowding at hospitals or convenient care centers. Dr. Raval says, preliminary studies can be done in some cases but going straight to the ER may be more convenient. He says many times the facility has to refer patients to the ER because patients are facing conditions that they're not equipped to handle

"Especially with conditions like any stroke like symptoms with a facial group or if they have chest discomfort or chest pain. Patients should go to the emergency room," Dr. Raval said. "Sometimes patients come here just to make sure they're doing okay but sometimes we may not have the resources here to give them that information accurately.

To read more about when to choose convenient care, click here.