Douglas Dispatch | October 2, 2015

Copper Queen Hospital CEO Jim Dickson met with several members of the Douglas Chamber of Commerce Thursday talking about all the changes coming to the community through heath care.

CochiseRegionalHospital closed its doors at the end of July and in August the Copper Queen Medical saw an increase of 603 visits at the Douglas Quickcare from the same month in 2014.

“Our ER visits went up 342 during that same period,” Dickson said. “Don’t be worried about your well being. You’ll be taken care of quickly.”

Dickson explained why it is important and more cost effective to go to the Quickcare first and let them decide if they should transfer you up to the Emergency Department (E.D.) at Copper Queen Medical in Bisbee.

“Fifty percent of the ambulance transfers from Douglas did not need to result in an E.D. visit,” he said. “The average cost for a Quickcare visit is $175 compared to $1,059 for a level one. Level two us $1,475. Quickcare does the same thing as an ED does but for a one-tenth the price.”

Dickson added Copper Queen Medical has hired 15-20 of the employees from Cochise Regional who abruptly lost their jobs.

“Chiricahua told me they hired a bunch and we’ll hire a bunch more once we get the ED open,” he said. “The use of the emergency department is abused by patients just like anywhere in the United States. … It’s just the way it is. A lot of people have insurance so they think they don’t have to pay anything but it costs to use an emergency department.”

The Quickcare hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the lab is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We’re adjusting to the volumes,” Dickson said. “There might be a little bit of waiting but nothing like three to four hours.”

For those who don’t insurance there are discounts available, he added.

“Our mission is to get healthcare to people,” he said. “It’s not to make big money. … Don’t let finance keep you away from our services.”

Ground breaking for the new emergency department will take place in November and should be completed by August 2016.

“You will be receiving a new building without taxing people,” he said.

The CEO also announced there will also be a heliport at the new emergency department which will also open at the same time.

“When we are done Douglas will have the most cutting edge health care delivery system of anybody in the United States,” Dickson said. “You’ll have the ED, there will be specialists. You’ll also have the Quickcare clinic where you can walk in at a reasonable price and be seen.”

Dickson said of the 50 percent that actually do need to be seen in the emergency department, approximately 10 percent are admitted.

“This will cut the DFD’s (transport) volume down by 50 percent,” he said.

Dickson assured the chamber members to not worry about their health care.

“We’re on top of it,” he said. We’ve been doing it since 2002. Some of our doctors have been here 37 years. … We’ve been growing at 20 percent per year for the past four years. There’s a reason for that because we care. … Calm down in Douglas because you’re going to get the best health care you can get. I will wager you the health care will be better than what you had.”