Like most hospitals around the state and country, Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) in Tifton is facing high volumes in the emergency room (ER) that can sometimes result in extended wait times. According to Dr. Eric Paulk, Medical Director of Emergency Medicine at TRMC, nearly half of the patients in the ER are seeking treatment for minor injuries or illnesses which could be addressed in the primary care or convenient care setting.
“Patients with minor health issues who use a primary care doctor or convenient care clinic can avoid the longer wait times typically found in an ER,” said Dr. Paulk. “In addition, the co-pay for a visit to a physician’s office or walk-in clinic will cost far less than a trip to the ER.”
Dr. Paulk said emergency rooms are designed to treat urgent, acute, and life-threatening conditions and are not optimal for routine care or minor ailments.
“If you feel you are dealing with a health emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away,” said Dr. Paulk. “Otherwise, a primary care provider or convenient care clinic will save you time and money, and help clear the way for patients in need of emergency treatment.”
Southwell, the parent organization of TRMC, offers convenient care clinics in Tifton and Adel with evening and weekend hours. This includes Southwell Medical Clinic’s ExpressCare in Tifton at 2225 Highway 41 North and Southwell Medical Adel Primary Care in Adel at 172 MJ Taylor Road. Visit www.mysouthwell.com/convenient-care for additional details.
With locations throughout South Central Georgia, Southwell’s primary care providers are also accepting new patients and offer telehealth options. Southwell Medical Community Health Center, located in Tifton, also accepts walk-in patients. To find a primary care provider or learn more about all of Southwell’s services, visit www.mysouthwell.com.
“The staff at TRMC are working very hard to care for all the patients who need us,” said Dr. Paulk. “It can be overwhelming for area residents to know who to call or where to go. For non-urgent or non-life-threatening symptoms, calling your primary care provider or going to a convenient care center may be a better option and help you avoid potentially long ER wait times.”