Atlanta hospitals screen out non-emergent ED patients

The movement towards screening out non-critical emergency department visitors is continuing nationwide, with many hospitals opting to push such patients into primary care or charge them a fee to use the ED. In Atlanta, for example, such practices are growing more common in facilities across the metro.

For example, Atlanta's Piedmont Fayette Hospital recently launched a screening system to determine whether patients have an emergency condition as defined by EMTALA. If the patient doesn't, they'll have the choice of either seeing a primary care physician or paying $150 to stay. Other hospitals are placing a greater emphasis on providing primary care on-site, with some putting a primary care center next to the ED, according to the Georgia Hospital Association.

As with their brethren elsewhere in the country, by taking these steps, the hospitals hope to reduce ED overcrowding. The ultimate goal is to cut wait times to be seen in the ED, and in turn, to place in beds as needed.

To learn more about this approach:
- read this Atlanta Business Chronicle article

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