Using ER Wisely Can Help Keep Costs Down

FAIRBURY – Increasing health care costs are a concern to many, and wise use of the health center emergency room is an important aspect of keeping health care costs down.

“The health center emergency room is not a cost-effective place to get routine health care,” said Judy McGee, chief nursing officer at Jefferson Community Health & Life in Fairbury. “Very ill and critical patients will be prioritized for care ahead of anyone with routine, non-life threatening problems. In addition, emergency room care is very expensive.”

It is important that a patient be seen in the emergency room if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain or signs of heart attack or stroke
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pain that is uncontrollable
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Allergic reaction to a sting or bite, or medication reaction
  • Poisoning
  • Unexplained stupor, drowsiness, or disorientation
  • A major injury, fall or possible broken bone
  • Trauma, such as a car accident
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • High temperature (over 103 degrees)
  • Laceration that needs stitches when the physician’s office is not open

“We provide the needed care for every patient who comes to our emergency room. It is important to understand that we also must prioritize care in the emergency room. If you come with something that is not life-threatening, and we have another patient whose concern is life-threatening, care will be prioritized to the patient with emergency needs,” McGee said.
There are also many medical needs which are not life threatening and can be handled appropriately at your physician’s office during regular office hours. Some of these might include:

  • Flu symptoms
  • Sore throat, cold, cough, fever
  • Rash, lumps, bumps, minor burns
  • Cuts where bleeding is controlled
  • Animal bites
  • Bee stings, insect bites
  • Sprains, strains
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Sores that don’t heal or changes in growths

For the safety of our customers and staff, the inner door of the ER vestibule is locked when the area is not staffed. If you need emergency assistance when the door is locked, please pick up the phone in the vestibule. It will automatically ring the nurses station and they will assist you.

If you are in doubt about whether you should come to the emergency room with any specific symptoms, please feel free to call Jefferson Community Health Center at (402) 729-3351. We are glad to help you determine the best place to receive care for your current health need.

Jefferson Community Health & Life Fairbury Clinic is a family medicine clinic offering all types of preventative care, care for non-life threatening illnesses and injuries, in addition to physicals, pre-natal care and regular followup visits. Four board certified family medicine physicians and two certified physician assistants provide quality care. Same day appointments are available Monday through Friday for urgent health needs. To make an appointment at the Fairbury Clinic, please call (402) 729-3361.