It's been a long-standing practice at South Georgia Medical Center that will now change come January 3.
Ken Kiser of Patient Care Services says, "In the past our emergency room has been the portal of entry for after-hours for any patients coming for surgery in the morning or visitors that would come in during the night to see patients in an emergency type situation."
But because of increasing demands facing the emergency room staff and doctors, SGMC will now redirect all non-emergency after-hours traffic to the new 24-hour outpatient/admissions center.
Kiser adds, "We hope this will allow us to improve our emergency department environment as well as improve access to the patients coming in after hours."
In addition to alleviating much of the after-hours emergency room traffic, doctors say the outpatient center will provide better lighting, more parking and an overhang which will protect patients and visitors from bad weather.
Doctors say the expanded service is needed to keep pace with a growing community.
Kiser says, "All of this is just a continuous growth process to try and meet the needs of the community."
It’s a community which will now use the outpatient center as its new, main, non-emergency hospital entrance in 2005.
SGMS's outpatient center/admission area will be staffed with a security officer and admissions personnel to help folks after 9 p.m.