Spectrum Health eliminating Urgent Care RNs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Spectrum Health urgent care patients will no longer be examined and treated by registered nurses.

The change may come as a shock to some, but another Grand Rapids health care provider says it's a trend as facilities state-wide look to cut costs. Spectrum is replacing the RNs with medical assistants.

While both Metro and Mercy Health continue to use RNs in urgent care, Spectrum isn't alone in relying on medical assistants to help patients.

"Medical assistants are definitely lower cost to the organizations to hire versus registered nurses," said Katie Plaska, an office manager at American Family Care, another urgent care facility that uses assistants rather than RNs.

It's the reason Spectrum is changing staffing in its urgent care department.

In a statement, Spectrum Health says:

"As best practices evolve within our industry, we adjust our staffing models," a statement from Spectrum reads. "During our regular evaluation of best practices, which included review of national standards, Spectrum Health changed our staffing model at our Grand Rapids-based urgent care locations. Our model does not require RNs in addition to providers at these sites."

Plaska admits that while the jobs are similar, the pay scale and schooling are different.

"Urgent cares are now going toward a more medical assistant kind of standard of care just because medical assistants can do a lot of the same things that registered nurses can do with the exception of IV administration," said Plaska.

It's unclear when the change will take effect at Spectrum.  They are encouraging the nurses affected to apply for other positions within Spectrum Health System.

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6 comments

  • concerned person

    Rn’s are way different than medical assistants. Just like Lpn’s are way different in things that can be done by them. if in fact medical assistance are equal to Rn’s and Lpn’s why do they need to go to school to be a nurse. I am a nurse and its way different in what each can do.. So does that mean Cna’s should be equal to a medical assistant too?

  • Old Bob

    Urgent care is not used for urgent care as it was intended. Most if not all of the people who go to urgent care are just sick and should see their own doctor. Of course they would have to pay the bill if they did that. They go to urgent care and hope one of Michigan many social programs will pick up the cost of their visit.

  • Beth Anne

    Who will do triage? Who will do patient teaching? Someone who is NOT schooled in disease process or nobody? This will require more follow up to non-urgent physician offices, and therefore increased cost of medical care overall. Improper triage will result in more emergencies and more law suits. Stupid medical decision by an accountant. Oy vey.

  • JOE

    Spectrum is the bigest game in town the big boys on top are just money hungry crooks there care is crap the cover ups from there miss ups are big time