News Headlines Article

Doctor targets costly overuse of emergency room
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Dr. Steve O’Brien is the kind of guy, when he sees a problem, he does something about it.

At Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, he found 70 percent of the patients coming to the emergency room for primary care lived within a mile of a community clinic that could provide those services less expensively.

So he met with staff at those clinics, which are incentivized by the federal government to provide primary care, and made changes, putting a case manager 24/7 in the emergency room, designating staff from the clinics to help people navigate their options for treatment, creating an observation unit where emergency patients with complications could be monitored and moving a physician from the back to the front of the emergency room to see patients quickly.