ER, Urgent Care Centers – The Magic Language

The Magic Language for Emergency Rooms, Urgent Care Centers

and After Hours Centers

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This language is different than the language you use for the Primary Care Physicians and Medical Specialists.  The issue with these centers is based on a different need, and if you know this and can commiserate with them, the game is OVER and you WIN. 

When a patient comes in for an emergency evaluation the facility bills for that emergency encounter. By most state laws the patient is required to have a “real” evaluation following that emergency room visitation.  Basically they can’t just see them for the emergency visit then turn them out to the street.  When a patient is seen for a heart attack or a gunshot wound for instance, they have that follow up INSIDE the hospital when they are admitted.  When the patient is ambulatory, they are required to have the follow up outside the emergency facility.  That is why the ER docs say “Follow up with your PCP” on the discharge summaries.  They are required to do that, the PCP is not the requirement the examination is, however the PCP is the easiest one to pick. 

Now in many cases the PCPs do NOT want to see auto cases or work injuries, so the patient calls the PCP and the office says, “Dr. Jones doesn’t not see “those cases”, you will have to go somewhere else”.  At this point the patient is running out of pain meds, their pain is increasing and they don’t know where to go…so what do you think happens?  They go BACK to the ER, usually within a day or two.  But guess what?  It can’t be billed as a full ER visit it is actually a nurse visit [follow up}, it goes by diagnosis codes.  That is a lot of time for a LOT less money.

Now you are starting to see the problem, these patients take away valuable clinical and business resources and the ER people are looking for a place to send them for the follow.  They need to ensure that these patients DO NOT COME BACK…that is the niche.  It is NOT treatment it is CASE MANAGEMENT – that is where your conversation needs to be.  Here is what you say, remember in the case of the PCP we say “ I specialize in the diagnosis and management of mechanical spine pain”, this is different…

“My office specializes in the CASE MANAGEMENT of spinal pain patients.  We have a high quality network of specialists for those patients that need continued medical management such as pain management and neurosurgical consultations.  My office handles the entire case including work excuses, insurance forms and all referrals. The short answer is we can help make sure patients with musculoskeletal pain [or spine pain depending on your practice] will NOT come back for a second visit!”

That will get their attention.  For the smaller groups I give them postcards [see section #8 Branding and Marketing for a look at the postcards.  I usually give them a 3” stack, to order them call Collwyn Cleveland he is my printer and will cut you the same deal he does me…generally speaking I spend about $400 for 10,000 of them.  He does not charge for creative work and is pretty quick.  It is critical that you use these since most referrals come from staff.  If you just give them a referral pad only a provider can refer, since in my offices we get 80% of our referrals from staff, we would be only getting 20% if we only used referral pads.  That is important.

For the larger groups, you want to be in the EMR as a First Tier Provider and they will be able to put your name into the discharge summary for the patient to follow up with, this becomes even easier as you develop faculty positions in affiliated medical schools or get on provider networks for hospital groups.  The game has changed and screenings are DONE, with my help we can position you as EXPERT!  Start hitting the streets and getting appointments. I will help you along the way…CALL ME!

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