reasons to go to the emergency room

Although urgent care clinics can now be found all across the country, not everyone realizes that these facilities can treat all kinds of injuries and ailments. Many patients assume that they can’t go to their local walk-in urgent care center for flu treatment, a broken bone, or even minor burns or back pain. Often, this results in unnecessary (and expensive) emergency room visits. That was certainly a trend that Dr. Jay Woody, the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Legacy ER and Urgent Care, observed back when he was a board-certified ER physician.

In a recent profile in VoyageDallas, Dr. Woody explained: “I began to notice a disturbing trend — many of the people I treated on a daily basis did not need emergency level care. These people did not have many options at the time, so they went to the hospital which leads to overcrowding, long waits, and large bills for those non-emergent cases.”

Dr. Woody’s experiences are echoed in statistical data. While there are many reasons to go to the emergency room, the reality is that only 3% of patients who go to an urgent care clinic actually need to be diverted to an ED. Still, Dr. Woody’s involvement in emergency room care made him want to keep helping those who found themselves in potentially life-threatening health situations.

Over a decade ago, Dr. Woody and his team came up with the ideal compromise: a full-service emergency room attached to an urgent care center, both housed in one retail-type setting. At that time, something like this had never been attempted. Some even believed that the move was too risky. But the team forged ahead knowing that they had tapped into something innovative and necessary.

As Dr. Woody told VoyageDallas:

“By not being affiliated with any hospital or health system… customer service and loyalty was our main marketing. We knew we could create a new standard for the level of service in healthcare. Patients were used to long waits, confusing billing, and most of all, a less-than-stellar level of service. We hatched a novel plan to train all of our staff in customer service and [eliminate] all of the typical healthcare stereotypes… We invite patients to come in, ask questions and to always get a smile… We created a proprietary process that alleviates the typical long waits and door-to-door times by keeping patients moving. Most of our Urgent Care level patients are getting back into their cars within 35 minutes. Even on our busiest days, patients will only be in our reception area for less than 5 minutes. In these busy North Texas communities, time and money are the biggest factors for customer loyalty and this dual model and attention to customer service have created a recipe for success.”
There have been challenges along the way, of course. But through it all, we’ve been dedicated to providing excellent medical care and fantastic customer service to every patient who walks through our doors — whether they have reasons to go to the emergency room or can be treated by our urgent care staff. Best of all, our model provides immense cost savings: in 2017, 84% of our 85,000 patients seen were billed at the urgent care level — thus eliminating $20,000,000 in unnecessary ER charges for patients and their employers. So while we still see some patients with reasons to go to the emergency room section of our facility, it’s clear that the majority of those who come here for urgent medical care are able to be treated quickly and affordably. Contact us today to learn more.

The full interview with Dr. Jay Woody can be found on VoyageDallas‘s website.