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The Boston Globe

Metro

City’s plan aims to cut down ER visits

Patients will be urged to use health centers

Public health officials are pushing to alleviate crowds at Boston’s emergency rooms by redirecting patients without life-threatening ailments to one of the city’s 25 community health centers, where care can be tailored to individuals and is significantly less expensive.

The initiative has established guidelines to facilitate communication between hospitals and community health centers to encourage emergency room patients to seek follow-up care at neighborhood medical facilities. The effort will include a $140,000 public information campaign - funded by hospitals, health centers, and insurers - to let people know that community health centers have flexible hours and offer a range of services, from dental work to acute care.

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