Alternative to emergency room coming to St. Luke
For weekend minor emergencies, St. Luke Hospital soon will offer a less costly solution than going to an emergency room.
Starting Jan. 7, the hospital will have urgent care available noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
No appointment or referral is necessary.
Patients can be seen for non-life threatening illness or injury, such as allergic reactions, colds, flu, infections, fractures, cuts, and rashes.
Jeremy Ensey, CEO of St. Luke Hospital, said urgent care would make getting medical attention easier.
“We understand that illnesses and injuries occur on the weekend, and in the past, the only option has been to come to the emergency department, travel to an urgent care center, or wait until Monday when the clinic opens,” Ensey said. “Our goal is to continue to provide an assortment of services to our community and make healthcare more accessible.”
Urgent care services, for both local and out-of-town patients, will be an extension of services already provided by the patient’s primary care providers.
Gail Boaldin, chief nursing officer at St. Luke, said patients will enter the emergency entrance on Freeborn St. and staff will determine whether the illness or injury should be treated as an emergency or urgent care.
The urgent care clinic will be staffed by whichever physician or nurse practitioner is assigned to ER that day, Ensey said.
Many insurance companies cover an urgent care visit at the same cost to the patient as an office call, Ensey said. Others charge more.
If an insurance company charges a high copay for an emergency room visit, or applies the ER visit to the patient’s deductible, urgent care is a far less costly option.
“If the patient were able to be seen in urgent care instead of ER, it could save hundreds of dollars,” Ensey said.