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Cuyahoga County Hospital Encouraging Patients to Skip ER, Use Clinics

MetroHealth Tries to Cut Costs, Not Patient Care

Facing ongoing budget difficulties, MetroHealth, the county hospital in Cleveland, has begun to actively encourage patients with minor ailments to visit one of its neighborhood clinics rather than the emergency room (Source: "MetroHealth ER tries to cut costs ", Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 6, 2008)

When patients show up at the ER complaining of issues such as rashes, colds or backaches, MetroHealth is now giving them the option of either paying their insurance co-pay or $75 up front, or making an appointment at a neighborhood clinic. The patient is guaranteed an appointment within 72 hours, though hospital officials say many patients will be able to see a doctor the same day. The program began in mid-May and 200 patients have already opted to go to a clinic.

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