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Centra Aims To Cut ER Visits With New Initiative - abc27 WHTM

Centra Aims To Cut ER Visits With New Initiative

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Lynchburg, VA - The Emergency Department at Lynchburg General is the second busiest in the state but Centra is hoping to give up that title by giving underinsured patients alternative care options.

On average, the emergency department at Lynchburg General Hospital sees 90,000 patients a year, almost 30,000 more than it is designed for.

"The vast majority are headache, earache, toothache, sore throat" said Centra Accountable Care Director Carlton Purvis.

Centra has determined almost half of these patients are underinsured and are going to the emergency room for primary, urgent or specialty care needs.

"We want to find a way to better serve those in the right time and the right place," said Purvis. 

Centra's new emergency and community access initiative aims to lower emergency room visits by improving access to health care services for the underinsured.

Purvis said, "We are working even more actively with our community partners to figure out how we can serve these patients better and hopefully reduce costs related to that."

The Lynchburg Fire Department adopted a similar initiative in 2011. The Multi-Disciplinary Response Team is comprised of ten members from different government and social services departments.

"By taking care of long-term solutions for them you actually cut down on the amount of resources utilized" said Lynchburg Fire Captain James Mitchell.

Centra has worked closely with the MDRT and created their own Critical Access team. They are hiring two Care Navigators to work with the most frequent ER visitors. They will also send a mobile medical van around the community to help those in need.

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