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Meridian in the News

Convenience Care to open

Feb 20

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Monday, February 20, 2017  RssIcon

from The Commercial Review

It’s 6 p.m. on a Friday.

Your 2-year-old awakes from a nap crying. You feel her forehead.

It’s a fever.

Your daughter’s pediatrician won’t be open to see patients until Monday.

What do you do?

For many in Jay County, the answer may have been a visit to the emergency room.

Meridian Health Services and Jay County Hospital are partnering to provide another option.

Meridian MD Convenience Care, a facility that will focus on off-hours treatment of medical issues that don’t rise to the emergency level, will open Wednesday at Jay County Hospital.

“One of the things we know in this community is that we need more providers,” said Dave Hyatt, CEO of Jay County Hospital.

“Our providers are incredibly busy and seeing large numbers of patients every day, but there’s still a gap in the evenings and on weekends. People with non-emergent issues still need to be seen.

“We know that the emergency room, while it’s available for emergencies, it’s not always the most appropriate place for care. We don’t want to see somebody who’s got a kid with an earache on Sunday getting a $500 bill from the emergency department, because that’s not good for them.”

Convenience Care, which will be located in the southeast corner of the hospital, is an effort to fill some of those gaps.

It will offer hours — 2 to 8 p.m. weekdays — that stretch later into the evening than most primary care physicians. And it will also be available from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

Dr. Robert Robinson and nurse practitioners Carol Keihn and Ann Myron Hardesty, will staff the new facility initially, with hopes of adding to the hospital’s team in the future.

“Initially, we are using some existing providers,” said Dorothy Smock, the hospital’s vice president of provider and ambulatory services. “We’re doing that to get it up off the ground. People know them, they trust them. But I do see an expansion where we would bring in additional providers.”

The facility that will include three exam rooms will focus on treating health concerns that require attention but don’t qualify as an emergency. The list includes allergies, colds, minor scrapes and cuts, ear and eye infections, the flu, insect stings and sore throats.

And with the emergency department just a few feet away, patients who need a higher level of care can be directed there efficiently.

Also, primary care providers will be notified of any treatment their patients receive.

“We basically want this to be an enhancement of our current providers’ offices,” said Hyatt. “We still want people to have dedicated primary care physicians but when they need that assistance outside of their regular business hours, we want them to get that care, and then if they need to, follow up with their primary care physicians.”

The partnership between the hospital and Meridian is similar to that of the West Jay Clinic in Dunkirk. Meridian is handling the administrative side of the operation — it will have a case manager on site while billing and other work will be handled off site — while the hospital provides the space and staff.

It’s Meridian’s first foray into the area of convenience care and, if successful, could be copied at other facilities in the state.

“We have a great working relationship with Jay County Hospital. Our Dunkirk partnership has been a great success,” said Amelia Clark, Meridian’s vice president for community health. “They mentioned that as part of their community needs assessment, the community was interested in a convenience care type model. And we’re just excited to work with them and try this.

“It’s very much a collaboration. … It’s a great way for the hospital to have a resource that’s cost-effective for the community.”

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