Posts Tagged ‘treatment’

Oh Hell Yes: UCSF Allows Emergency Room Check-In Online – Wait Just 15 Minutes with InQuickER Service at Parnassus

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The average wait for an emergency room visit at UCSF‘s Parnassus Heights campus is 4.5 hours for people with mild medical emergencies? Wow.

Wouldn’t it be nicer to pay $5 to check-in online and then wait at home rather than in the ER?

That’s what UCSF thinks.

Check it:

“UCSF patients with minor medical needs seeking treatment in the Emergency Department now can make an appointment to be seen – waiting at home rather in the hospital – via a new online check-in service called InQuickER.

UCSF Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center is now offering patients with mild medical emergencies a chance to reserve a time to be seen in the Emergency Department using a new online system.

UCSF Medical Center’s Emergency Department (ED) at Parnassus Heights is now offering InQuickER designed for patients with non-threatening minor medical needs.

UCSF patients can register online for a $4.99 fee and pick an open slot for an emergency room visit. The fee will be refunded if they’re not seen within 15 minutes.

In April, UCSF did a trial run with the online service, which 22 people used. UCSF Medical Center launched the system a few weeks ago.

“One thing we encountered during the trial was that a lot of patients were using it inappropriately,” said Jennifer Dearman, the Emergency Department’s patient care manager. “The online registration is screened by ED nurses and we have had to advise some patients to come directly to the ED. This service is for a fast-track kind of patient.”

“For example, a cancer patient on chemotherapy with a fever can have complicated issues and should be seen in the regular ED, so InQuickER is not appropriate for that person.”

Waiting at Home vs. Hospital

About 105 patients a day visit the emergency room at UCSF Medical Center on the Parnassus campus, Dearman said, and the average time between arrival and departure, for those not admitted to the hospital, is four-and-a-half hours.

That’s in keeping with the average wait in 2009 for ER patients throughout California: four hours and 34 minutes –  27 minutes longer than the U.S. average, according to a 2010 report by health care consulting firm Press Ganey.

Dearman said patient satisfaction was the main reason UCSF Medical Center adopted InQuickER. “It also helps us control the flow,” she said. “The general population doesn’t think the emergency room ever has slow times. But it does.”

UCSF is one of 55 health care facilities in 13 states partnering with InQuickER, said spokesman Chris Song. The service, based in Nashville, began in 2006 after its founder, Tyler Kiley, had to go to an emergency room and spent hours witnessing stasis and frustration.

“He just thought there had to be a better way,” Song said. “With our service, you still have to wait but you get to do it somewhere else. Like on your couch instead of being surrounded by other sick people.”

Song said InQuickerER provides patients with convenience, comfort and some level of control. And it allows emergency department staff to know who’s coming and what symptoms they have, so that they can better prepare.

“It can help reduce the burden of peak times and spread it out,” Song said. “It creates more efficiency and a better environment in the waiting room.”

So far, more than 10,000 people have used the service; 95 percent have been seen within the 15-minute window. In a triage situation, of course, even people who have registered will have to wait. When there are delays, users are notified through text messages and emails with updated projections on treatment times.

The service is available online at https://ucsfmedicalcenter.inquicker.com/. It is growing rapidly, Song said, which is not surprising: A study led by San Francisco General Hospital emergency physician Renee Hsia, MD, MSc, found that the number of hospital-based emergency departments in the United States is declining, despite an increase in the number of patients seeking emergency care.

The study by Hsia, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the UCSF School of Medicine, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in May. It reported that 27 percent of urban and suburban emergency rooms have closed in the last two decades.”

Hurray!

“Save” Golden Gate Park Community Meeting Coming July 20th in the Inner Richmond – Soccer Fields and Water Treatment

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Here are all the deets:

NB: You won’t be actually “saving” GGP by going, but, regardless, these are the big issues of 2011.

Senator Leland Yee Introduces SB 220, A Bill Requiring Coverage for Tobacco Cessation

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Senator Leland Yee is today proposing a law that would require health insurance policies to include coverage for tobacco cessation services. He made the announcement today at San Francisco General Hospital along with all these people:

Supervisor Eric Mar
Dr. Mitch Katz, San Francisco Department of Public Health
Serena Chen, American Lung Association
John Hanley, San Francisco Firefighters
Dr. Dexter Louie, California Medical Association
Gail Maderis, BayBio
Dr. Steve Fugaro, San Francisco Medical Society
Karen Licavoli-Farnkopf, Breathe California

District 2 Supervisor Eric Mar talked about his parents, who both “smoked like crazy.”

Click to expand 

All the deets:

Bill Introduced to Require Insurance Companies Cover Tobacco Cessation. Senator Yee and Supervisor Mar team-up to sponsor legislation to fight cancer
 
SAN FRANCISCO – According the US Surgeon General, tobacco use is the single greatest cause of disease and premature death in America today and is responsible for more than 435,000 deaths annually, including nearly 40,000 in California alone. 

In an effort to fight this epidemic, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) today teamed-up with San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, the American Lung Association, doctors, and firefighters to introduce legislation that would mandate health insurance policies include coverage for tobacco cessation services such as patches, nasal sprays, inhalers, gum, prescription medications, and counseling.

“The societal costs of tobacco-related death and disease approach $96 billion annually in medical expenses and $97 billion in lost productivity nationwide,” said Yee.  “More then 70 percent of all current smokers, however, have expressed a desire to stop smoking.  By ensuring that health plans cover the cost of quitting, more Californians will be able to kick this bad habit, medical costs will be reduced, and most importantly, lives will be saved.”

In 2006, as part of its universal healthcare program, Massachusetts began covering most expenses for smoking cessation counseling and prescription drugs for Medicaid recipients. The result has been an astonishing drop in the population of poor people who smoke — from 38% to 28%. There is also evidence of a parallel reduction in hospitalization for heart attacks and treatments for asthma.

“Smoking disproportionately impacts those in economically disadvantaged communities,” said Mar, who is sponsoring a resolution in support of Yee’s bill.  “Requiring health care providers to include coverage for smokers who would like to quit smoking creates a healthier California and protects the public’s health.”

About 20 percent of adult Americans currently smoke, and 4,000 children and adolescents smoke their first cigarette each day.  According to the California Department of Public Health, the adult smoking rate in California is 14 percent and there are approximately 3.8 million current adult smokers in California.

“It’s time to make it easier for the nearly four million Californians who smoke, to quit,” said Jane Warner, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California.  “Because, right now, we’re failing these people as highlighted by the ‘D’ grade earned in Cessation Coverage by the state in the American Lung Association’s recent State of Tobacco Control Report.”

“SB 220 takes another important step in the long journey of providing Californians the support and incentives they need to quit using tobacco products,” said Brennan Cassidy, M.D., president of the California Medical Association, which represents 35,000 physicians across the state. “Requiring health plans to cover smoking cessation treatment is a no-brainer. We know that when a person quits smoking it saves the health care system immensely by significantly reducing the chances of heart disease, lung cancer and other life-threatening diseases that require intensive, expensive treatment.”

“Smoking cessation is more cost-effective than other common and insurance-covered disease prevention interventions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol treatment and routine cancer screenings,” said Yee.  “Consumers need and deserve this treatment option.”

With SB 220, California would become the 8th state to mandate coverage for tobacco cessation services.  In addition to the American Lung Association, Yee’s bill is supported by the California Medical Association, California Psychological Association, San Francisco Firefighters Local 798, San Francisco Medical Society, National Council of Asian & Pacific Islander Physicians, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.