What are we looking to improve?
In the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, one of many communities served by Beth Israel, the lack of a 24-hour primary-care facility prevents many residents from accessing affordable quality care. As a result, many of them wind up visiting costly emergency rooms with symptoms that are otherwise treatable and/or able to be monitored in a primary-care setting. Through our initiative, we want to improve access to affordable primary care, while reducing primary-care visits to the emergency room.
How strategies/measures have we implemented for improvement?
In October 2008, Beth Israel Medical Group, located at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue, expanded its hours to 24/7. These service hours are staffed by board-certified physicians providing comprehensive primary care.
What have we accomplished to date?
Since the hours were expanded, more than 2,500 patients (65% of them new patients) have visited the office “after hours.” We currently are averaging 150 patients during “after hours”: 35% come between 3 pm and 8 pm; 45% between 8 pm and midnight; and 20% between midnight and 8 am. Patients who require emergency care are transported via ambulance to Beth Israel’s Emergency Department. We have found that, overall, early diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, made possible through expanded access to services, are more cost-effective for both patients and the hospital.
What are our future plans?
Beth Israel hopes to extend walk-in hours at other sites. At our 34th Street location, for instance, we anticipate moving our weekend closing time to 8 pm.