Feeling sick at 1 am? Northwell has an on-demand ER for that

New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health launched its emergency room on-demand program, which allows patients to access physicians in the middle of the night.

The virtual emergency department will operate from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. every night. The program gives access to a board-certified emergency medicine physician when physician offices and urgent care clinics have closed their doors, according to a July 14 news release shared with Becker's.

Five things to know:

  1. Each phone call is answered by a paramedic, who determines the level of care required and confirms an ambulance is not necessary. Within less than an hour, the patient is connected to an emergency medicine physician through a video call. 

  2. If necessary, the physician may advise the patient to go to an emergency room and can help arrange an ambulance. If the patient goes to a Northwell emergency department, the physician will alert the ED staff.

  3. If an emergency department visit is not needed, the physician may advise steps such as a follow-up with the patient's primary care physician or getting lab work. The physician can also write a prescription and arrange for at-home delivery. Prescription delivery services are available in Manhattan, Queens and Nassau County in New York. 

  4. A team member will follow up with the patient the next day to check in on their symptoms.

  5. The virtual visit is designed to be affordable and convenient, said Jonathan Berkowitz, MD, medical director of emergency medical services at Northwell. Patients are charged for an outpatient ambulatory visit, which is typically a third to a fifth as much as for an emergency department visit, the release said. Copays are less expensive as well, with all types of insurances accepted. If the patient goes to a Northwell emergency department, the charge for the virtual visit is waived. 

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