By Christine Bryant
Reynoldsburg residents will soon have a new resource for close-to-home emergency care.
OhioHealth has begun construction on a freestanding emergency department at the corner of Briarcliff Road and East Main Street. OhioHealth officials anticipate the facility will open in late 2017 or early 2018.
During the past few years, similar freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) have popped up throughout the region, including in Pickerington. The facilities provide patients with the convenience of having emergency care close to home.
“Wait times for patients to see a physician in an FSED are significantly less than a traditional emergency department, which means that patients are less likely to leave without receiving necessary medical treatment,” said Kristin McManmon, president of OhioHealth Neighborhood Care. “By treating these patients closer to home, we can more appropriately manage their access to follow up care with their local primary care physician, hopefully avoiding future hospital stays and emergency department visits.”
The addition of the facility also may help reduce the overcrowding of several hospital-based emergency departments around central Ohio, including Mount Carmel East Hospital, one of the city’s busiest with more than 84,000 ER visits in 2015.
“Hospital ERs locally and nationally are running at near capacity with long wait times,” McManmon said. “The FSEDs will help to alleviate some of that.”
There is also a growing demand from patients to receive care closer to home, including emergency care, she said.
“We see a large number of Reynoldsburg residents in our hospital-based emergency departments, and now they will be able to stay right in Reynoldsburg if they need emergency care,” McManmon said.
The Reynoldsburg freestanding emergency department, like others constructed in the region, will be physically smaller than typical hospital-based emergency rooms and will staff smaller, cross-functional care teams. This allows department personnel to be more flexible and responsive to provide an enhanced patient experience, McManmon said.
“It will be 8,000 to 10,000 square feet, and has eight patient bays,” she said. “It includes X-ray, CT and ultrasound services, as well as lab testing and pharmacy support.”
Like emergency rooms attached to a hospital, the facility will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patients will either be able to arrive via ambulance or walk-in for care, though if patients need to be transferred or admitted to a hospital, staff will make those arrangements.
“It’s important to note that this is a true emergency department, not an urgent care,” McManmon said. “There is a difference between the two. Freestanding emergency departments provide emergency care, which is for severe or life-threatening conditions, like severe bleeding, shortness of breath or chest pain.”
Urgent care facilities, on the other hand, should be visited for non-life threatening injuries or illnesses, such as minor burns, the flu or allergic reactions.
“With so many options – primary care, urgent care and emergency care – it can be confusing to know where to go and when,” she said. “In the coming months, we will work to ensure consumers get the right care, in the right place by educating them on how to best utilize emergency care as part of our continuum of services that includes primary and urgent care.”