"An emergency room is not the best place to get routine primary care," said Pam Troup, executive director of St. Anthony North. Uninsured or underinsured patients regularly use emergency rooms for primary care, officials said. But too many primary care patients "bog down all hospitals from treating patients who have true emergencies," said Allen Poston, OU Medical Center spokesman. Grants are being given to the three hospitals by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. "We're responding to emerging needs, and this is a big step" to improve medical care in the metro area, said Cathy Nestlen, foundation communications director. Grants were awarded at a recent foundation board meeting. St. Anthony Hospital will open its primary-care clinic by the end of this year, Troup said. Start-up dates for clinics at Integris Southwest and OU Medical Center aren't available. "We already are working on getting patients that frequent the Integris Southwest emergency room directed to an appropriate medical home," said Chris Hammes, Integris Southwest administrator.
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