urgent care monkey

Urgent Care Trains Monkey to Dispense Z-Paks, Send Patients to ER

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CHARLOTTE, NC – An urgent care clinic in Charlotte is the talk of the industry after piloting a new program meant to lower costs and increase patient efficiency.  A trained monkey, Giggles, was recently taught how to handle 95% of urgent care business by prescribing Z-Paks and learning how to send patients to the ER.

urgent care monkey
“TIme to pass out those Z-paks”

“Giggles is a smart monkey,” explained his handler.  “He has a knack for knowing which patients need Z-Paks and which ones seem to be above the capability of our clinic to take care of them.”

The way it works is that Giggles will see a patient and walk around him or her a few times.  He may touch the patient’s cheek or jump on the patient’s bed.  After his specialized exam, Giggles will either grab a treat out of his handler’s left hand, signifying that the patient needs a Z-Pak, or his right hand, signifying that the patient needs to go to the ED.

The clinic’s parent corporation, the German company Simians, is excited about the prospect of these clinics taking over the industry.  “The cost savings is enormous,” explained CEO Herr Gerstman.  “We typically pay a physician over $100/hr, but the monkey plus his handler costs us merely $20/hr.  The savings can then be passed on to customers and us.”

Giggles’ girlfriend, Betsy, is also being trained to work registration and collect co-pays.  She has a feisty streak, according to her handler.

“Betsy is great at collecting money but sometimes she can get real upset,” he explained.  “Betsy has been known to fling her excrement at people when they don’t have insurance or if they don’t have cash or a credit card on them.  Once we work out the kinks in her behavior, I think we will implement this idea at registration as well.”

During the transition to full monkey-based care, the clinic still employs PAs or NPs to handle the occasional patient with a Z-Pak allergy or for the times during the day when Giggles’ needs to relieve himself.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out the author’s website First World Emergency Medicine for other great articles.

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  • Avatar
    Mark Smith

    These comments are almost as entertaining as the article itself.
    Touchy touchy monkeys!

  • Avatar
    sum_dude44

    brilliant

  • Avatar
    Susan MacMillan

    That’s hysterical!

  • Avatar
    Dave Comstock

    wait … this is news?

  • Avatar
    Simon Görtz

    I know this is satire because you CAN train a monkey to order some XRs before calling Ortho.

  • Avatar
    Marilyn Krichko

    Right!

  • Avatar
    Laurie Pepper Gray

    And prescribe them all steroids and unrecommended cough medicine plus an antibiotic for a viral illness (that they tell Mom, it’s a viral illness. Then I get yelled at next time I tell her it’s viral and go home and drink fluids.) IMO, peds PTs should only see peds trained providers (more than 3 months of peds clinic, at the very least)

  • Avatar
    Andrea Leigh Camp

    I’ve been on both sides of this you know, the asker the askee….and let’s not forget bowel impactions. think a monkey can do that? well probably, but disposal may be an issue. probably fling it. wish I could have.

  • Avatar
    Andrea Leigh Camp

    now that’s just not nice at all. along with the pain level sensor. I had an appt today. And of course, here comes the pain level question, and I said well I just don’t know how to answer that anymore. I mean is it like being stabbed multiple times? set on fire? noooo, but it hurts. you decide. and why didn’t he have the new device?

  • Avatar
    Carol Campbell

    We get them in the ED as well …

  • Avatar
    Shae Nickel

    Megan Pavlus Jessica V Madsen

  • Avatar
    Brandon Bushnell

    I was just about to say the same.

  • Avatar
    Kimra Ross

    So close. But to “treat” Peds pts they will also have to get him to give unrecommended albuterol txs for bronchiolitis

  • Avatar
    Bob Vorhies

    Hmmmmm Stacey Towne Vorhies open shifts are soon to be a thing of the past

  • Avatar
    Robyn Rugg Rogers

    Kris RushtonShae NickelBrittany Beasley

  • Avatar
    Matthew Mikel Sr.

    Very well said.

  • Avatar
    Lauren Kazlo

    That pretty much sums it up.

  • Avatar
    Gina Cotton Simpson

    West Tennessee dialysis clinics have been staffed with monkeys for years. They are trained to send patients to the ED prior to dialysis for complaints such as shortness of breath and hypertension.

  • Avatar
    Juny Patriots Bayard

    Sometimes all you need is a damn Z-pack

  • Avatar
    Angela Albero

    Yup, this is exactly what the patients want. Might as well be a monkey as long as they get that zpack they KNOW they need!

  • Avatar
    Bethany McDaniel

    I don’t know it is accurate or not, but I was told Ms. Clinton said a trained monkey could do a nurse’s job. I always thought we should get her one for her next healthcare need. Looks like this one is ready.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Hey

    This hits way too close to home…..

  • Avatar
    Jay Thornton

    Hilarious!!!

  • Avatar
    Erik Pitner

    Were you there John? If not then you’re doing a helluva lot of assuming, and we know what that makes you.

  • Avatar
    John Muthama

    You do know that respiratory distress can resolve on its own, right? Would you rather be called after the pt has coded? Your comment say more about you than the NP.

  • Avatar
    Joanne Cameron

    Yes, at least here.

  • Avatar
    Maria Nikolova-Ovcharov

    :)

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Bein Rowlinson

    Yep. Liked the article, commented on the comments. It’s called reading. Fundamental

  • Avatar
    Chris Morrison

    The butt hurt is strong in this thread….

  • Avatar
    Julie Dehle

    I sure as hell hope not

  • Avatar
    Julie Dehle

    I sure as hell hope not

  • Avatar
    Mike Roby

    nope. that’s why you’re an ER doctor my friend and I miss you

  • Avatar
    Mike Roby

    nope. that’s why you’re an ER doctor my friend and I miss you

  • Avatar
    Betsy O’Herron Tolbert

    I’m not sure what is funnier, the article, or the lost concept of satire.

  • Avatar
    Betsy O’Herron Tolbert

    I’m not sure what is funnier, the article, or the lost concept of satire.

  • Avatar
    Betsy O’Herron Tolbert

    Satire. It’s satire.

  • Avatar
    Betsy O’Herron Tolbert

    Satire. It’s satire.

  • Avatar
    Betsy O’Herron Tolbert

    LMAO!

  • Avatar
    Betsy O’Herron Tolbert

    LMAO!

  • Avatar
    Rachel Bonadonna

    Lexi Davis

  • Avatar
    Heather Kernan

    Celia Glover Adams

  • Avatar
    Joy LaForte

    I’m also a pa who worked er but have been working in urgent care for the last 4 years. I make more money than I did in the er and am far more trained than a monkey dispensing zpacks. Countless pts come in demanding them, I educate until I’m blue in the face and often they still will demand them cuz it’s “worked in the past” or “for their friend”. When I’m seeing 50 pts a shift solo I don’t have time to then continue to debate them and then deal with their negative yelp review. I only transfer legit pts that are in real distress, surgical cases or need imaging I can’t offer. I just think this article is dumb when it belittles good providers who work their a** off in urgent cares

  • Avatar
    Dorris Helton

    My wife presented to UC, symptomatic with abnormal EKG sent home with a dx of “bronchitis.” 3 days later, LV infarct, VS infarct. Requiring urgent surgery and 8 day hosp. Followed by 6 week rehab. Yes these UCs are real $ makers!

  • Avatar
    Zane White

    So much butt hurt on this one.

  • Avatar
    Darla Bryan

    My respect to all those providers who work in Urgent Care. They have the expertise to recognize when a patient needs a higher level of care, deal with a multitude of injuries and illnesses- often without the support of endless tests available ( like in an ER). They still deal with the drug seekers, psych patients, homeless and uneducated. My kudos to those providers and support staff of Urgent Cares- where do you think those patients would inappropriately go if UCCs were not around??—the ERs, of course!!!

  • Avatar
    Franco DiRosa

    Shouldn’t the monkey be giving mostly drug rehab referrals?

  • Avatar
    Rebecca Bakkestuen

    Wonder if this is where Stoner went Sara Frye

  • Avatar
    Donna Clark Sanville

    Oh brother!!!!

  • Avatar
    Admir Ramic

    Rob O’Bert LOL

  • Avatar
    Jay Brieler

    That’s funny stuff right there.

  • Avatar
    JerMajisty Hutch

    Keith Pochick

  • Avatar
    Heidi Huser

    If you want all the “sore throats for one hour” and patients who “vomited once” we’ll send them to you.

  • Avatar
    Robin Michele

    Well said.

  • Avatar
    Robbin Klekar Koehler

    Wow…it’s just a joke but unless you’ve worked urgent care, you don’t know the PTS who walk in there. Out of the 4 days I work, in a month i may send 1-2 pts. For chest pain or RLQ pain positive for sxs of appy.
    And then there are the pts who treat me like a drive thru….”I have bronchitis and I need a Zpack”
    Those are the idiots that get the big eyes and the education
    And yes, I’m an NP

  • Avatar
    Mark Rockwell

    I actually work both er and urgent care. It helps prevent unnecessary er transfers. The monkeys just need to ask themselves, “what can and will they do in the er that I can’t do here?” I worked 5 years in an IM office before the er and probably would have been more like said monkeys before my er experience.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Bein Rowlinson

    I started my career in the ED and now am the Lead PA of three urgent cares. I haven’t written a Zpack but once in the last five months (we could educate all day). I have worked with dozens of different MDs, DOs, PAs, and NPs. And the truth is…. If you are a stupid provider in an ED, you’ll be a stupid provider in an urgent care. Urgent Cares are not what they used to be. We keep many patients out of the ED. This article was meant to be funny. And was. A critical care NP I used to work with posted it on my wall, my answer: “Depending on the snack, I’ll still do it”. But some of your comments show no respect for the providers working there. Bad providers are everywhere (can we talk about the rebound visits we get from the ED for things missed??). Glass houses people. Glass houses.

  • Avatar
    Joske Guereza

    If you pay peanuts… you get monkeys :P

  • Avatar
    Erik Pitner

    Perhaps this particular one yes. You feel threatened? Or questioning the validity of my statement?

  • Avatar
    Jordan Howard

    Peter Bates

  • Avatar
    Afshin Dey

    I’m sure the same primate will bill 45 minutes of critical care for said activities

  • Avatar
    Angie Stratton

    Are you implying something about NPs?

  • Avatar
    Martin Oliver

    I’m not a doctor but I play one in the urgent care. Seriously, after 22 years as an ER PA in a 22 bed Level II Trauma Center, I LOVE my new job in an urgent care clinic, where I get to make that call instead of answer it. I may be a trained monkey, but I’m making as much money as the poor peds on call or the hospitalist at my old job, and I’m home by 8:00pm every day.

  • Avatar
    Alicia Olmoz

    There’s stupid doctors and stupid NPs/ PAs… Let’s not stereotype!

  • Avatar
    Hayley Carmichael

    Simon Mauchline, what have we been saying all along?

  • Avatar
    Diane Bockelman

    Stupid…

  • Avatar
    Michael Arnold

    Kevin Hager

  • Avatar
    Amy Diane

    Hahahaha

  • Avatar
    Douglas Dew

    Need to release the flying monkeys

  • Avatar
    Lynn TrueNorth Kahn

    Sharon Calkins – maybe we could cross train our sterile monkeys to do this as well?!

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Wooten

    Brandon Earehart

  • Avatar
    Jen Kephart

    P.S. My place needs to hire a Betsy !

  • Avatar
    Erik Pitner

    They have. NP called EMS for a “pt choking, resp. distress”, arrived to find said patient chatting away on her cell phone.

  • Avatar
    Rocco Arcieri

    I thought this was supposed to be satire?

  • Avatar
    Jen Kephart

    tee-hee …Simians !

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