Florida's Halifax Health Pre-Screens ED Patients to Reduce Costs

Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Halifax Health is using a pre-screening policy for emergency department patients in an effort to cut costs, according to a Daytona Beach News-Journal report.

Under the new policy, physicians or physician assistants determine if patients have an emergency medical condition before delivering treatment. If a patient's condition is not an emergency, he or she has the option of going to an onsite health clinic for $48 or proceeding with the emergency room visit after paying insurance co-pay or $350.

Patients will also be given a list of community resources for non-emergency medical situations. Patients outside of the Halifax taxing district who do not need immediate medical care will not be offered the clinic visit but may pay for an emergency visit and receive a list of community resources.

Patients who have a true emergency medical issue will not be required to pay before receiving emergency care.

The new policy is designed to save costs. Hospital officials said approximately 34 percent of Halifax's bad debt comes from the ED. In addition, Halifax hospitals' records show only one in five ED patients needs to be admitted to the hospital. Arvin Lewis, Halifax's director of patient business and financial services, estimated a reduction of 10-15 ED patients per day since the program began in mid-May, according to the report. 

Read the Daytona Beach News-Journal report on emergency care.

Related Articles on Emergency Departments:

Mississippi's Anderson Regional Combines EDs

Oklahoma's OSU Medical Center Begins Rebuilding Emergency Department After Flood

Texas' Baptist Health System to Open Four Emergency Hospitals

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