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.
“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.
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