St. Clair clinic's goal: 1 hour visit

| Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 1:58 p.m.

St. Clair Hospital will open its first urgent care walk-in medical clinic on Monday.

The center off Oxford Drive in Bethel Park will provide treatment year-round for injuries or illnesses that require immediate, but not emergency care, such as fractures, sprains, cuts, colds, ear and other infections.

More hospitals are providing care beyond traditional settings, said Patricia Raffaele, vice president of professional services for the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania.

These clinics allow hospitals to “bring care closer to the people in the community. We definitely are seeing more care given in different types of settings,” she said.

David Kish, executive director of St. Clair Hospital Emergency Services and Patient Logistics, will be the director of St. Clair Urgent Care. While the center is expected to see 25 to 30 patients a day, the demand probably will be much higher, he said.

The goal is for every patient to be seen, treated and released within an hour. Should a patient there need emergency care, ambulance service will be requested if needed and staff will inform the emergency room at St. Clair, or another hospital of the visitor's choice, about the incoming patient.

Physicians Rachel L. Schroer, Matthew S. Cooper and Ediri A. Montoya also will staff the center, along with registered nurses, radiology technicians and front desk staff.

Kish said the urgent care center won't necessarily reduce usage of the emergency room at St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon. There are no consistent findings from across the country, he said, that correlate reduction of E.R. usage to access to off-site urgent care centers.

St. Clair's decision to open an urgent care center was made by analyzing the best way to fulfill patients' needs, he said.

St. Clair Urgent Care also will offer sports physicals, flu vaccinations, rapid strep testing and other lab tests and x-rays. Commonly prescribed medications can be filled on-site and all major forms of insurance will be accepted.

Raffaele said retail locations and “medical malls” along with urgent care centers are some of the new sites where hospital care has been offered in recent years. Medical malls provide many services in one location, such as physician offices, testing labs, imaging and physical therapy.

Morgantown, W.Va.-based MedExpress Urgent Care has about 50 Pennsylvania centers, plus sites in and eight other states.

Other local hospitals that have expanded into urgent care include Washington Health System, which offers express care at its emergency department and also provides care at UPMC Urgent Care in McMurray. Jefferson Regional offers Quick Care, located next to its emergency department.

Pam Singhal is a freelance writer.

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