SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With flu season around the corner, Ellis Medicine and CDPHP have teamed up for a campaign to remind patients of where to go to receive the appropriate care. The “Right Care, Right Place” push is an effort to keep those who don’t need emergency care out of the ER.
“We’re really trying to increase access to primary level care services for our community,” said Maurya Datka, a nurse practitioner at Ellis’ Family Health Center.
Patients with mild conditions are encouraged to visit walk-in clinics, like the one at the Family Health Center on McClellan Street in Schenectady, rather than visiting an emergency department.
“And so they can come here to be seen. Because certainly people do want care the same day, we’re here for them for that,” Datka explained.
The campaign serves as an important reminder, especially as hospitals continue facing staffing challenges that could mean even longer wait times in the ER.
“The emergency department is really not where people want to go unless they’re in a true emergency situation,” said Ali Skinner, a spokesperson for CDPHP.
On top of receiving care in a more efficient timeframe, visiting a walk-in clinic could also mean a substantially smaller bill, “You could be looking at anything from a $50 bill, all the way up to $1000, $1500. So if you are in an out-of-pocket situation, it’s a significant cost difference to go to the emergency department,” said Skinner.
The campaign comes as health officials prepare for the first flu season without widespread mask-use since the beginning of the pandemic. That, coupled with fewer people immune to the flu following mild seasons, prompting experts to encourage everyone to be up to date on vaccines.
“People are feeling a little bit more relaxed and so I think we probably will see that. We’re also going to be seeing people more often in-person, rather than people kind of waiting things out, so I think we’ll probably see numbers increase, sure,” said Datka.
According to the CDC, flu activity across the country is low at this time.