When the doctor's out, Stormont-Vail HealthConnections is in.
Nurse Manager Charlotte Schirmer, RN, says the free call-in service is an extention of the doctor's office. She says they're available to provide care even when the doctor's office is closed.
Schirmer says someone will answer the phone at HealthConnections 24-hours a day. Nurses are on duty when the doctors' offices are closed - 4:30 pm to 8 am Monday thru Friday, all day and night on the weekend.
If you call with a medical question or concern, the resource reps will take your basic information and, if it's after hours, send you on to a nurse. Schirmer says the nurse will go over symptoms with the caller and then decide the best plan of care, either at home or refer them on for further evaluation.
The most common questions aren't surprising, revolving around sore throats, children with a high fever, and cold and flu symptoms. But HealthConnections can help with more than just medical problems. Schirmer says they also handle registrations for all Stormont and Cotton-O'Neil classes, they can assist with physician referrals for people looking for a doctor and they have a resource list for people looking for support groups.
The HealthConnections number is 785-354-5225. The service handles more than 20,000 calls a month. If the nurses are busy on another line when you call, you'll get a call back within an hour for situations involving children; two hours for adults.