We recently shared an article on the increasing wait time at some urgent care locations for medical treatment and drug testing. Well, in typical 2020 fashion, some things have changed already. The centers that were offering online check-in have temporarily paused that service as the volume of patients continues to grow, and the service was not showing the benefit as hoped.
Urgent care facilities are seeing a continued increase in the number of patients they are seeing, and there is no end in sight for this increase. COVID-19 cases in NH are on the rise, flu shot season has arrived, and flu season is just around the corner.
Here are some updated tips on seeking medical care and drug testing.
Don’t leave the drug testing until the last minute. As soon as the employment offer has been made, encourage the new employee to seek drug testing sooner rather than later. With the benefit of instant results, some employers and employees leave the test to the last minute knowing the results will be the same day. With the risk of long wait times, encourage the testing to be done ASAP, and then if they are still facing a long wait time, they can reschedule at another time or call us for other options. Please remember you may not allow a person to work until you receive the test result.
Be open to alternate providers
Most employers use one clinic for all their drug testing. If you are finding long wait times, give us a call and we can offer other clinic options. Consider using a clinic that only sees occupational medicine patients/employee health patients. They are busy too, but not with the treatment of “sick” patients and may have a shorter wait time.
Don’t be afraid to drive
If one clinic is busy, they may let you know that another one of their clinics isn’t as busy; a 30-minute drive to another clinic is better than a 2 hour wait time.
Medical Care for Work Injuries
Calling NHADA vs. Calling 911
Remember to always call us before seeking treatment for a work-related injury UNLESS it is a life or death emergency; then always call 911 and follow up with us after to fill us in on all the details. Contacting the NHADA WCT team before assisting your injured worker with medical treatment allows us to assist with the most appropriate specialty referral within the managed care network.
Urgent Care vs. Specialty Care
As easy and quick a drive to local urgent care can be for medical treatment, it can also be met with long wait times currently. Giving us a call before heading out will possibly allow us to offer specialty care vs. urgent care. An example is a foreign body in the eye; yes, urgent cares are always a good option, but how about starting with an eye doctor; the wait times will be less, and they are not dealing with COVID-19 patients. We can also assist with same-day referrals to local orthopedists who offer new injury appointments or have times set aside for new injuries.
Now vs. Later
When an injury occurs, there is part of us that think we head to the emergency room no matter what. Emergency rooms are always crowded places, not just during a pandemic. Also, they don’t work on a first-come first-served basis. Many patients will take precedent over an acute/minor work injury. In many cases treatment is actually not necessary in the same day. A call to NHADA’s WCT nurse case manager allows a conversation to occur regarding the nature of the injury and the current signs and symptoms. If it’s a safe option; the offer of making an appointment for medical treatment the next day can avoid long wait times.
Concern About Exposure to “Sick” People?
We are running into many cases where an injured worker delays reporting and/or treatment over concern of exposure to “sick” people at clinics. This is, of course, a valid concern during this crazy time. If your injured worker has this concern, please call us. There are clinics in NH that only see occupational medicine patients and are not doing COVID-19 testing, putting their mind at ease and encouraging treatment now versus a delay.
As always, your NHADA – WCT team is here to assist you. The information on COVID-19 seems to change daily, but one thing that has not changed is being there for our members. Call or email the members of the team with any questions or concerns. We can be reached at 800-852-3372 or our emails:
Marta Silakka, RN, BSN, CCM, COHN-S, Nurse Case Manager, NHADA — WCT