Blue Cross of Georgia does not always want to pay for people’s visits to the emergency room. The question, clearly is what they pay for and what they do not. To a certain extent, there are alternatives now that folks saw rarely if at all in the past.

Alternatives like urgent care.  In the trade we call it a “doc in a box.”  Long waits are not uncommon — it is generally one doctor present at a time, with many nurses and technicians who have enough time to at least have an authentic — if brief — interpersonal relationship with the patient. Sometimes people get wheeled into such places. By definition, patients are usually ambulatory in a “walk-in clinic.” I have worked in such places that specialized in psychiatry, where you could see pretty much anything, although prescription refills were clearly dominant. Read more on Avoiding Emergencies In Georgia…

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Have you ever felt that your doctor just isn’t listening to you?Now multiply that by a hundred and you will start to understand what happens when a mentally ill person has a serious physical illness.

A news story on a recent study about how patients with a psychiatric diagnosis are prioritized at the bottom of the list when presenting at an emergency room induced a flashback when I was a young and eager resident psychiatrist on ER duty.

I was dedicated and enthusiastic – some said idealistic – and proud of knowledge obtained not without difficulty.  The event I recalled was a 39-year-old schizophrenic man coming in with chest pain and trouble breathing.  Maybe he seemed a little young for a heart attack, but gasping for air, clutching his chest and crying with pain. Serious complaints that ought to be treated seriously until proven otherwise. Read more on Mentally Ill Have Low Priority In Emergencies…

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