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Mercy launches ‘on call’ program

St. Louis area Mercy patients who need care after hours and on weekends can now get immediate help through the new Mercy on Call Program. 

The free program, an expansion of Mercy’s Nurse on Call service, connects adult patients with physicians and advanced practice providers who serve as an extension of Mercy’s local care team. They can access a patient’s electronic health record to see past medical history, allergies and medications so they can give the best possible advice, which includes medication changes and prescriptions.

While the Mercy on Call team may recommend a visit to the ER in some instances, many patients may be able to get the care they need without leaving their homes. That need for more advanced remote care grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Justin Huynh, vice president of population health at Mercy.

“Patients were looking for more virtual care,” Huynh said. “We quickly delivered with even more video visit options, but sometimes a phone call is faster and easier for patients – especially late at night or on weekends. Nurse on Call has always been busy for that reason, so adding physicians and advanced care providers to expand capabilities of the team made complete sense.”

For adult patients, calls made to Mercy primary care offices after hours and on weekends are automatically now sent to Mercy on Call. Mercy’s Nurse on Call service still handles after-hours requests for pediatric patients, backed by on-call physicians, but work is underway to add full-time physicians and advanced practice providers to that service as well.

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