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Argus launches medical advice hotline

In an effort to drive down unnecessary visits to the emergency room or doctor’s office and subsequent cost, Argus Group has launched teleNurse, a free medical advice hotline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from Bermuda. The service is available to Argus Health customers toll-free by calling +1 855 257 8908.

The service is part of a long-term drive to address the rising cost of healthcare by reducing claims through preventing unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office or emergency room.

According to Argus, the average emergency room and clinic visit in Bermuda costs $550 and $382 respectively. The number of these visits could potentially be cut in half — as approximately 50 percent of emergency department visits in the US are non-urgent and could therefore be treated in a lower cost setting, according to research conducted by Health Services Research and Development.

The new service, sponsored by Argus Health and provided by FONEMED, is designed to give Argus Health clients convenient, round-the-clock access to quality healthcare information. It is intended as a first step for people when they are sick or injured and want advice on whether they need further medical attention and where they should get it. The service is also available for general medical questions or concerns.

“I’m sure most of us have experienced long waits at the emergency room for what turns out to be a non-urgent condition,” said Michelle Brock Jackson, executive vice-president, Group Insurance, the Argus Group. “With teleNurse, clients can now speak to a medical practitioner from the comfort of their armchair. The service also benefits employers by eliminating the need to find cover for staff attending unnecessary medical appointments.”

Enquiries to teleNurse will be answered by a registered nurse at FONEMED. In non-urgent cases, callers will have the option to be transferred to the “Health Information Library,” where they can listen to recorded materials on a wealth of health-related topics.

teleNurse also serves to channel consumers straight to appropriate healthcare providers and support healthcare providers in managing chronic conditions.

“The Argus Group is very much committed to working with the Government to combat the rising cost of healthcare in Bermuda, which continues to be the key driver in pushing up health insurance premiums for everyone,” added Ms Brock Jackson.

“I am confident that this new service sponsored by Argus Health will make a significant contribution to this aim by cutting down unnecessary usage of the healthcare system. It also helps to educate consumers about how to proactively manage their health and help them to self-select the most appropriate treatment.”

A call to teleNurse does not replace 911 — that is always the first number you should call in emergency situations in Bermuda.

Michelle Brock Jackson

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Published January 23, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm)

Argus launches medical advice hotline

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