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FastERcare bringing its service to Kittanning

| Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 8:13 p.m.
Exterior of the newly opened Butler Health System’s FastERcare urgent care facility in the Franklin Village Mall in East Franklin.
Wednesday July 18, 2012
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Exterior of the newly opened Butler Health System’s FastERcare urgent care facility in the Franklin Village Mall in East Franklin. Wednesday July 18, 2012 Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times

Families in the Kittanning area needing quick treatment for a minor injury or illness, a flu shot or a physical, now have another option for their care -- the newly opened Butler Health System's FastERcare urgent care facility in the Franklin Village Mall plaza.

The center, staffed by physicians, nurses and technicians, opened on June 25 and will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Patients do not need an appointment and most are in and out in about an hour.

"We see everybody from cuts and bruises to broken bones, from bronchitis to strep throat -- the basic injuries and illnesses," said Jana Panther, director of marketing and community relations at Butler Health System.

Panther said the community has been in need of and asking for a service like this.

"It's urgent care -- we're not trying to be a primary care facility," said Panther. "We like to work with the community hospitals. We've been talking to doctors in the community and they're receptive. We see ourselves as a partner."

ACMH disagrees

ACMH Hospital officials, asked for their opinion of the new facility, issued a statement Wednesday critical of Butler Health System, and charged that Butler FastERcare is duplicating, not supplementing, the services that ACMH and the community's primary care physicians already provide.

"ACMH already offers a comprehensive range of services not found in an urgent care center and ones you don't expect to find in a rural facility," hospital officials wrote. "Important improvements to the emergency department at ACMH have already been made over the past months, such as reduced wait times and express care services. These improvements have enabled those patients seeking minor care to be seen and treated as quickly as those going to an urgent care center."

ACMH officials said that if minor care would happen to evolve into something major the patient can be treated at the same facility.

"FastERcare services are in most cases duplicative and of greater concern, disruptive of the care provided between local primary care physicians and their patients. Without coordinated health care management, important details about a patient's health history may be lost, possibly leading to medical errors or repeating medical services. Additionally, patients at times have inadvertently sought medical care at an urgent care center when they should have been more appropriately seen at a full service emergency department."

"Butler FastERcare is simply a profit motivated venture."

Crystal Fink, of Tidal, is an LPN at the new FastERcare in East Franklin. As a mother of three children, she says she understands the value of having an urgent care facility in the community.

"I have three kids of my own and the bumps and bruises and the sore throats always seem to come on Saturdays and Sundays," said Fink. "The doctors here are friendly and wonderful. I see this growing. Besides, it's the closest I've ever worked to my house, I just have to drive 23 miles."

People who have used the facility for treatment have been telling them how pleased they are for having this type of service in the community, according to Panther.

"They say we're very friendly and they like our team approach," said Panther. "Our staff loves working with patients and our patients can feel that."

She said employees such as Joyce Miller are at their best when they can give a personal touch to patients' care.

"It's a neat position here in that I get to do a variety of services for a patient -- triage, EKG, phlebotomy -- in addition to my job," said Miller, of Ford City, a radiology technologist. "I bring them in, do what I need to do and discharge them as well. I follow the patient through."

About FastERcare

Hours: BHS FastERcare is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week. It's closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all other legal holidays.

Physicians on-site: Physicians are on-site during operating hours.

Conditions treated: Minor illnesses and injuries, including but not limited to: sprains, strains, broken bones, flu, colds, lacerations, sore throats, and bronchitis.

Offer x-rays: They are able to perform general radiography to facilitate patient's care. Images are digital and available to patients on a CD Disk if required.

Lab work: They are able to perform numerous point-of-care testing to facilitate patient's care. Additional testing is available as needed.

If require follow up care: Patients are encouraged to follow up with their primary care physician (PCP) in 2-4 days. If they do not have a PCP, BHS FastERcare provides the patient with a list of physicians accepting new patients in their area. Doctors accepting new patients, and wanting to be included in this patient information reference, can provide practice information to FastERcare office manager Diane Carlantonio at 724-284-4174.

If the patient's condition is more serious than can be treated at BHS FastERcare: Major emergencies will be transferred to the closest Emergency Department, or the Emergency Department of the patient's choice. Depending on patient's condition or their requests, they will arrange for emergency ambulance transfer. For example, these complaints may result in transfer: chest pain, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain.

Insurance accepted: BHS FastERcare accepts most insurance. BHS FastERcare is considered an urgent care facility and therefore, urgent care or specialist co-pay is accepted. Patients are not charged an emergency room co-pay. A list of insurances accepted is online at .

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