This might be a case of "dog bites man," but the Jacksonville Business Journal reports
that area HCA hospitals have adopted the practice of screening emergency room patients (as required by EMTALA
) and showing nonemergency patients the door (as permitted by EMTALA) with a brochure listing area clinics in their hands. Is this news, exactly? In my limited urban ER experience, you can sit in the waiting room on a Saturday or Sunday morning and watch one person after another get screened by a nurse who shows the BP/temp/pulse data to a doc and then gently but firmly escorts the almost-a-patient back out to the street. The more humane or enlightened institutions have an ambulatory care clinic to which the a-a-p can be directed, though most ACC's seem to be open only during regular business hours Mon.-Fri. Another common practice is to triage nonemergency ER patients to a non-acute treatment room within the emergency department. The brochure is a nice touch, though the article does quote someone who says the brochure has several inaccurate phone numbers and facility names.