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Delivering Better and More Affordable Care to Emergency Room "Super-Users"

Some Iowans visit hospital emergency rooms more than 15 times a year. They’re known as “frequent-flyers” or super-users of the ER. Today on River to River, how our system handles them.

In the first half of the show, we meet a former super-user who would visit the hospital once a week. She now sees 6 doctors and takes 36 medications, a decrease from what she used to endure. And, host Ben Kieffer talks with a social worker and an ER physician at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, where they were able to cut down their super-user visits, saving the hospital about a million dollars annually.

In the second half of River to River, an ER physician from University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics joins to highlight the most frequent super-users of the emergency room and the challenges of caring for these patients. Catherine Noble of State Center, IA shares her experience driving her daughter 40 miles to the ER late at night five times a year, for a prescription she already knew she needed. Her story begs the question: what are the alternatives to the ER?

The answer: Many clinics are popping up in Iowa’s rural and urban centers, and they are helping to alleviate congestion in the emergency department.

Listen to the story - Iowa's ER super-users and other efforts to alleviate emergency department congestion


Today's guests include:

Sallie Selfridge, social worker at St. Luke’s Hospital and case manager for the hospital’s Emergency Department Consistent Care Program, or EDCCP Dr. Josh Pruitt, emergency medicine physician at St. Luke’s Hospital, who sees patients participating in the EDCCP Dr. Hans House, emergency medicine physician at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa Catherine Noble, a resident of State Center Dr. Rami Boutros, Executive Medical Director, Off-Site Ambulatory Care Programs

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River