Dr. Kerr said an Excellus BCBS report found that 700,000 upstate New Yorkers make visits to the Emergency Room for minor medical problems each year. That figure is 175,000 in the Finger Lakes region. "Emergency rooms are vital county resources and they need to be used appropriately," she noted.
To make sure a patient receives the right care in the right place the person should call their primary care physician first for minor medical issues. As part of that strategy, Dr. Kerr said it's helpful to determine if your doctor's office has after hours and to keep that phone number handy for non-emergency problems.
In addition, she said it's wise to determine the closest urgent care center in case your doctor is not available.
Dr. Kerr said patients heading to the Emergency Room can face long wait times, fail to receive proper follow-up care and potentially use up valuable health care resources because the cost of a trip to the ER is much higher than a primary care doctor visit.