More healthcare offices help alleviate the impact of crowded hospitals

Crowded Arizona hospitals

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County has seen more than 1,000 hospitalizations because of the flu, according the Arizona Department of Health Services, and hospital staff sees the impact.

However, it is not just flu that’s causing the jam.

A grand opening ceremony welcomed the second HealthOn site — a new community hospital in Marana and the second of its kind in the area — on Thursday. Small healthcare provider offices and wellness centers are popping up around town.

It’s for a good reason.

“Having easy access to primary care … definitely impacts the number of people that have to be hospitalized,” Nancy Johnson, chief executive officer of El Rio Health, said.

HealthOn is a partnership between Tucson Medical Center and El Rio Health, providing primary care and other services to patients. TMC officials said hospital staff is seeing a high number of patients, but for what is typical this time of year.

Officials from local hospitals could not give us specific numbers regarding how many patients they are seeing this season, but some sent statements.

“We have been experiencing higher than usual volumes in our Emergency Department and with admitted patients,” a spokesperson with Banner University Medical Center said.

They say it’s not all flu-related, rather, just more people are sick.

Which makes this new HealthOn center, located near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and University Boulevard, helpful.

“This neighborhood stood out as a neighborhood that needed more primary care,” Johnson said.

With a quick google search, this area only pops up with a handful of doctors.

HealthOn officials said if patients see more primary care givers like them, they might not be headed to the hospitals — which would help the overflowing numbers.

All the hospital officials we spoke with said they want to remind people to wash their hands, cover their cough and visit a primary care location before heading to the emergency room.

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