Health systems face challenges with appropriate care for patient populations throughout their communities. Some underserved populations do not have access to healthcare and utilize health systems through Emergency Departments (ED) as a last resort. This is the least preferred method for establishing care for any patient and does not serve the health needs of the underserved population. The lack of routine healthcare and availability of primary care for some populations has added burden to hospital systems to not only address the immediate need of the patient but also establish a Primary Care relationship. The lack of a Primary Care Provider (PCP) also forces Hospitalist to admit the patient into an observation status to ensure the patient receives appropriate follow-up care.
To combat the patient population using the ED as a primary form of care, a Post-Acute Care Clinic (PACC) can transition patients from acute reactiveness to preventative health. The clinic serves as a temporary stopgap for patients that have not established care with a PCP to ensure appropriate follow-up for the acute episode. The clinic’s scope is short-term to address immediate needs and transition the patient to a more traditional Primary Care setting.
The primary goal of the clinic is to identify underserved patients, treat immediate needs and establish routine care. The secondary and tertiary goals are to decrease non-emergent care in the ED and reduce overloading of inpatient beds due to concern for appropriate follow-up care. During COVID-19, it became apparent health systems need to be more strategic with the bed assignments and reduce fringe admissions when at-home care is appropriate.