Tuesday, June 24 2014, 09:28 PM CDT
Southern Oregon Emergency Visits Higher Than State Numbers
By Aaron Nilsson/KTVL.comMEDFORD, Ore. -- The Oregon Health Authority reported fewer emergency room trips in 2013 for Medicaid patients.
Southern Oregon hospitals said the numbers for the ER are usually the same or higher.
“Locally, our levels have remained high and sit at 3.5-5% elevation for this month and expect it to continue throughout the summer, if not increase,” Corey Bergey said.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at Providence Hospital in Medford, Cory Bergey, said the patients continue to rush into the emergency room.
She said January saw a twenty percent rise in patient volume compared to 2013 citing the patients inability to see a primary care physician as the cause.
“This is the place to be if you’re having a heart attack, stroke or trauma victim. It’s not the best place if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or chronic medical conditions,” Bergey said.
Asante also said its three hospitals, Ashland, Rogue Regional and Three Rivers in Grants Pass saw a spike in emergency visits in January.
Asante also showed its medical centers and Providence Hospital with about six hundred more patients going to the emergency room each month in March, April and May 2014.
Bergey said some patients don’t want to wait for an appointment with a primary care physician and have issues they want treated.
“They now have the ability to get this care paid for and they want it taken care of right away and I can understand that. I’ve been trained in emergency care and I’m probably not the best one to see for chronic medical issues,” Bergey said.
Bergey said the emergency department is not always able to answer all of the questions from patients.
Emergency department guide at Providence, Alicia Tyler, said that is exactly why she is there to help.
Tyler said she helps connect patients with primary care doctors and things have settled down some since all of the visits in January.
“A lot of good results in getting patients referred to primary care offices and having a better sense their care is getting addressed,” Tyler said.
Tyler and Bergey said local hospitals don’t have enough primary care physicians and said it’s tough for Medford to recruit doctors and compete with big cities.
“There are a lot of clinics looking to recruit and with that comes more providers for patients, so eventually that’ll get better and everyone should have primary care,” Tyler said.
Doctors said putting more money into recruiting groups and getting the Rogue Valley on display is key to attracting more physicians.