Bridge Clinic provides quick support for recently discharged patients

Last month, Dr. Marley Doyle, UNMC Division Director of Adult Outpatient Psychiatry, started a bridge clinic, which helps recently discharged hospital and emergency room patients schedule a follow-up visit.

“This bridge clinic will help them transition to outpatient care,” Dr. Doyle said. “Often the wait time is very long, so the bridge clinic is meant to get them in quickly, so they can at least see somebody. Get them started on medications perhaps and then transition them to a permanent outpatient provider.”

The bridge clinic began on July 3 and currently sees patients every Tuesday from 1-4 p.m. Dr. Doyle said the clinic has already been successful in transitioning patients from the emergency room to outpatient care. Typically, the adult outpatient clinic at Poynter Hall has had to deal with large numbers of no-shows, due, in part, to the post-discharge appointment availability being months after the emergency room or adult crisis unit visit.

Dr. Howard Liu, Interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, said the bridge clinic is partially solving that problem by not only seeing the patient just days after the ER visit but also by finishing all the intake forms and by getting them scheduled with a permanent provider.

“When a patient comes to the Bridge Clinic on Tuesday, one of the first things the front staff will do is help them schedule an appointment with another provider,” Dr. Doyle said.

Most patients visiting the bridge clinic only have to wait four-to-six weeks for their first scheduled appointment with a provider.

Dr. Doyle added that patients have been showing up on Tuesday afternoons.  The popularity of the program has already started discussions about opening the clinic more often. But for now, the plan is to stick with what’s working.

“It’s going very well. We have had people coming every week, which I feel is a success. We have room to grow, but to have people referred and to have them show up every week has been positive. We’re doing our job of treating patients and lining them up with a permanent provider,” Dr. Doyle said.”

Along with Dr. Doyle, Community Service Technician Celeste Akers, social workers Joe Forrest and Sarah Wolnisty as well as residents Steven Ayers (PGY IV) and Myles Antonioli (PGY III) have assisted patients in getting referred to and treated at the Bridge Clinic.


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