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Understaffed medical help lines send patients to understaffed medical facilities

There are plenty of health situations where we're not quite sure where to go... the situation is not serious enough to call 911, but serious enough to not just wait until tomorrow.

There are advice lines offered by some hospital groups and staffed by registered nurses, capable of answering questions about logical next steps.

But the Oregon Nurses Association says such advice lines are frequently understaffed, and that sends callers to emergency room or urgent care visits. And in the pandemic, those places tend to be understaffed as well.

Heidi Sweeney and Dawn Bryan, who both staff a hospital RN advice line, visit with details.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.