PLANT CITY - South Florida Baptist Hospital is allowing patients with minor ailments to call ahead for emergency room appointments during certain hours.
The hospital launched the service so patients don’t have to spend their time in a waiting room, Interim President Karen Kerr said.
“We wanted to offer patients with non-urgent conditions another option – the convenience of waiting at home rather than in the hospital when the ER is busy,” Kerr said.
Patients in need of suture removal, wound check, medication refill, earache, sore throat or other minor ailment can call (813) 764-2221 anytime to schedule an appointment between 5 a.m. and noon.
A hospital employee will determine if the caller is eligible for an appointment or if their condition needs immediate attention.
Ideally, the hospital recommends patients see a primary care physician to treat less urgent symptoms. However, that’s not always an option.
Allowing patients to call ahead for an ER appointment decreases wait-times at the hospital and reduces exposure to illness from other patients sitting in the emergency room, officials said.
South Florida Baptist, which treated 37,000 patients in its Jim and Ruby Jean Redman Emergency Center last year, is the only one of the 11 hospitals in the BayCare Health System to offer the call ahead option, spokeswoman Beverly Littlejohn said.