IRON MOUNTAIN - Dickinson Memorial Hospital now has a local and toll free dedicated information line that is separate from the main switchboard.
The purpose of the dedicated line is to answer questions related to available physicians, programs and healthcare services that are available locally.
The new information line will be active Sept. 23 and will be answered by staff in the public relations office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
People with questions calling outside of those hours will be able to leave a message that will be answered the next business day. The new local number is (906) 776-5900 or toll free from outside the local area 1-855-560-DCHS.
"We are encouraging people to stay local for their healthcare so need to make it as easy as possible for them to do that," explained Sue Killian, public relations manager. "Often people have questions about local physicians or services before they can make that decision. We wanted to establish this phone line to provide an avenue through which the public could get the information they need to help them make an informed choice. Also, if called within the specified hours, the public will be talking to a person not a recording. We encourage anyone with a question about local healthcare services to use this new telephone information line."
The new telephone line has been specifically established for general information regarding the local availability of physicians and services. It is not meant to be used as a second switchboard line because it does not have transfer capabilities. It cannot be used to contact a patient who is hospitalized, a specific clinic, physician, staff member, or specific department within Dickinson Memorial Hospital. The main switchboard is there for these functions, and the number remains (906) 774-1313.
Also, the new Information Line is not to be used in place of a visit to a physician or in case of a medical emergency. Signs and symptoms of various medical issues can mean different things for different people based upon past medical history and current health status. The Information Line cannot be used to diagnose a medical problem or offer medical advice or treatment options. It can, however, be used to provide information about a locally available medical specialty or physician that may help.
"We anticipate the popularity of this Information Line to grow as word gets out," explained Killian. "We want to keep it for its intended use so it will be an effective way for the public to access the information they need to stay local for their healthcare and avoid the inconvenience and expense of travel outside the area."
The website is also always available at www.dchs.org for those who prefer an on-line information source.
The site includes a physician directory and information about hospital and clinic services. With the launch of the Information Line, the web site will eventually include Frequently Asked Questions with answers in a data base format.