06/28/07 — HD requires appts for family planning clinic

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HD requires appts for family planning clinic

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 28, 2007 1:45 PM

Starting July 9, all family planning patients at the Health Department must have an appointment.

The move will not only allow for better service, but will improve staff efficiency, said Evelyn Coley, director of nursing.

In the past, adults were the only ones scheduled to see a clinician, she said. Teens requesting pregnancy tests were done on a walk-in basis.

A backlog of patients or no-shows prompted the Health Department to implement the clinic change.

Prenatal patients will be tied to providers, with appointments made in 15-minute increments, or 30 minutes for new patients, Ms. Coley said.

"It will decrease the amount of time patients will have to wait in the clinic and increase our staff efficiency," she said. "The staff is cross-trained, so if there's a no-show, (staff) can pick up another appointment."

In the past, younger patients were given pregnancy test results and counseled by a social worker. With the change, each will be counseled by a nurse in the family planning clinic.

"They'll be able to talk to a nurse, who will give them results, and then can get an appointment with family planning," Ms. Coley said. "If they're positive, they will be given an appointment to the prenatal clinic or given other options in the community."

Before, she said, younger patients might be asked about birth control options and then scheduled for a follow-up appointment. Sometimes, however, "they never came back," Ms. Coley said.

"If they can have access to a family planning nurse at that time, maybe we can work them in rather than keep them coming back."

Ideally, the new procedure will also decrease the amount of time patients spend in the waiting room, Ms. Coley added.

Signs will be posted at the Health Department announcing the changes and directions of where to register.

The hours for appointments will be Mondays from 1-4 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 until 10:30 a.m. The phone number for appointments is 731-1005.