Partnership keeps women and children out of the ER

Beth Fisher

Partnership keeps women and children out of the ER

CREATED Jan. 22, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It's a huge problem in the Valley. families using emergency rooms for their primary care.  It slows down care for serious emergencies and it costs area hospitals a small fortune because most of these patients can't pay.

One of the biggest offenders used to be clients staying at the Shade Tree Shelter.  But now a partnership with Touro University is Making Las Vegas a better place to live.
Three-year-old Molique and four-year-old Navayuh live at the Shade Tree Shelter for women and children. Like most kids, they get their fair share of runny noses which used to mean a long day for Mom.
Shironda Hightower says,  "I'd have to go all the way to the hospital. You know how long that takes. I'd get them seen. Wait for a prescription. That can be all day."
But now, Shade Tree clients like Shironda Hightower come to an on-site clinic stocked and staffed by Touro University.
Dr. Vicki Chan is the Director of Physician Assistant studies.  She says, "This affords an opportunity for students to see patients and learn skills before they actually go out on the rotation. So it's great experience for them."
Students get experience and clients get help. Shade Tree is the first shelter in the state to provide free medical care to women and children.
Before this clinic opened, Shade Tree's Executive Director Marlene Richter says, "They were completely going without  preventive healthcare at all. Then they were using the ambulance and the emergency rooms as their primary healthcare provider. The ambulance was coming six times a day."
Now, Shade Tree averages one ambulance call a day for its hundreds of clients. Clients who need quality quick care, not another life emergency.
The clinic would not be possible without Touro, but it also relies on donations from the community. If you'd like to donate any over the counter supplies, the clinic can really use just about anything that's brand new including:
Small bottles of infant Tylenol and Motrin
Small bottles of adult Tylenol and Motrin
cough medicine
cough drops
lotions and creams