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Access to Care Archives - Innova

EpiPen Shortages

By | Emergency Medicine, Health News

EpiPen Shortages & Anaphylaxis Risks

Drug shortages are affecting our patients and providers on a daily basis.  One of the most concerning recent shortages is the limited availability of the Epi-Pen, a home device used to deliver epinephrine to patients with life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). 1-2% of the population will develop anaphylaxis in their lifetime.  Anaphylaxis is a complicated reaction leading to mast cell release, airway swelling, and can cause cardiopulmonary arrest.  Epinephrine is the treatment of choice.

The development of epinephrine auto-injectors has allowed patients with a history of anaphylaxis to initiate immediate life-saving treatment in cases of repeat events.  Patients are provided with prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors to carry with them at all times.  Patients benefit from having multiple auto-injectors to keep at home, school, work, and daycare.

In order to manage this dangerous shortage, the FDA has extended the expiration date of some of the pens (regular Epi-pens, not the Jrs) by up to 4 months.  Patients can check the FDA website to verify the lot number on their pen.  Patients should not throw away their pens until they check the website to see if the expiration date has changed and also verify that the pharmacy can refill them.  Some schools and daycares are still refusing to use expired pens even with this FDA announcement due to liability concerns.

Verify your EpiPens here

There are now additional auto-injectors available – Adrenaclick or Auvi-Q – both are FDA approved epinephrine devices but they have a different delivery system so patients will need to read the instructions carefully and train themselves before they need to use them. Patients should check with their pharmacy to determine what they have in stock and what their insurance will cover.

Rural Emergency Care

By | Emergency Medicine, Rural Communities

Practicing Rural Emergency Medical Care

Approximately 60 million Americans live in rural communities across the United States.  When it comes to health care, they face unique challenges compared to patients who live in urban communities.  There are far fewer physicians, both primary care and specialists, and patients must travel further distances to get to physicians and hospitals.  There are also proportionately more severe auto accidents and trauma-related deaths despite the overall lower population. In the current economic environment, many rural hospitals have been forced to close labor and delivery units – meaning that pregnant women must now travel even further for care.

Innova Emergency Medical Associates helps hospitals tackle the difficult problems of physician recruitment and Emergency Department quality.  We are drawn to the numerous benefits of practicing medicine in rural areas – especially the relationship that forms between the physician and the members of the hospital staff, our patients and the community as a whole.  We wanted to create a way to recruit highly qualified, board certified Emergency Medicine physicians to provide world-class care to areas that had struggled with either staffing or quality in their Emergency Department – and it has been a huge success!

Our hospitals have been shocked by our ability to change the culture of their Emergency Department and take the quality of care delivered to new heights.  Our physicians are dedicated to patient safety, ED throughput, and provide outstanding patient care.

Access to Care in Rural Communities

By | Emergency Medicine, Rural Communities

Gaining Access to Emergency Medicine in Rural Communities

One of the biggest challenges facing our rural communities is access to care.

In the last 8 years, 5% of rural hospitals have closed their doors, leaving their communities with no access to emergency care and many more hospitals continue to struggle to keep their doors open.

Additionally, one of the major tragedies in access to care has been the closing of labor and delivery units in a large number of rural hospitals.

Here at Innova, we were very glad to see a recent article in the New York Times highlighting access to care issues for rural communities.  This article focuses on both lack of obstetrical care as well as lack of Emergency Services available to a large percentage of rural patients.