As described in a new article in Health Affairs, New York City protected its strained health care systems, by creating a complex health care hotline system to provide residents with important health screenings, resources, and in the case of serious symptoms, redirection to specialized health care staff. Callers can reach a “first-tier” provider (usually a registered nurse) by calling the NYC311 system or Health + Hospitals system, regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. Callers with serious or complex symptoms can be directly transferred to a “second-tier” provider as deemed necessary, which includes physicians and specialized advanced practice providers. Later developments included support for symptom monitoring and automatic follow-up with patients as needed. As of June 11, the hotline has handled more than 90,000 calls, and just 10 percent of those callers were directed to the emergency department, potentially relieving pressure on NYC’s burdened emergency systems. #covid-19
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