SPRINGFIELD – With cases of COVID-19 on the rise in the region, patients seeking treatment for symptoms that are not life threatening may be able to access services faster by simply choosing the most appropriate level of care, a local physician said.
Throughout Memorial Health hospitals and facilities, there are four levels of care: routine medical care from a primary care physician, which includes checkups, health screenings and care for chronic conditions; telehealth virtual visits, which allow a patient to consult with a medical care provider via two-way technology; urgent care, which allows a patient to receive treatment for medical conditions that are serious or sudden but pose no immediate threat to life; and emergency care for life-threatening injuries or illness.
“We frequently see patients using the emergency department to receive treatment and services they could be getting from their primary care physician’s office or from an urgent care clinic,” said Dr. Anna Richie, clinical director of urgent care at Memorial Care. “Seeking care in an emergency department for flu or cold symptoms, for example, is not an efficient use of the patient’s time and resources, nor is it a good use of the emergency department’s resources, which should be reserved for patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.”
Richie recommends patients save time and resources by choosing the appropriate level of care:
For checkups, physicals, health screenings, care for problems such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma, treatment of cold and flu symptoms, headaches, pregnancy tests and medication refills, seek care through a primary care physician’s office.
For consultation with a care provider regarding cold and flu symptoms, cough, mild respiratory symptoms, skin rashes, sore throat and urinary issues, seek care via telehealth by downloading the Memorial App and accessing the telehealth section or by calling 866-205-7915 or 217-788-3948.
For diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions that are serious or sudden but do not pose an immediate threat to life, such as symptoms of cold, flu or cough; fever; fractures; minor burns and cuts; infections of the ear, eye or skin; nausea or vomiting; sore throat and urinary tract infections, seek care at the nearest urgent care clinic.
For treatment of life-threatening injuries or illnesses, chest pain, difficulty breathing, poisoning, seizures, loss of consciousness, severe burns, serious bleeding or broken bones, seek care at the nearest emergency department or by calling 911.
For information on COVID-19 testing, visit memorial.health/covid-19-information.
Patients seeking information about antibody infusion should first check with their primary care physician to learn if they qualify for the treatment.