by Russell Coleman, MD
It seems that every day another urgent care center is popping up. Some of them are run by hospitals, others are in pharmacies, and a few are independent. They seem to offer a wide range of services ranging from treating minor illnesses such as sore throats, coughs/colds, and ear infections, evaluating injuries, and even performing school physicals. Many times our patients ask our nurses and providers if they should go there when they are sick; or see their doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant at Pediatrics West.
Part of this rise in urgent care is being driven by businesses (hospital and pharmacies) bottom lines. Seeing sick patients is profitable. If you need labs or an x-ray they are readily available, even if not absolutely necessary. An urgent care located in a pharmacy is happy to sell you prescriptions or shampoo while you are there. These urgent care visits are also seen as a way to recruit new patients for the hospitals doctors and specialists. While these urgent care centers can provide a beneficial service at times, keep in mind that they are put in place not so much to serve the needs of the community, but to drive profit to their owners.
But what if you or your child is sick and you don’t know where to go? If you are traveling away from our service area, an urgent care makes good sense. No one wants to go the emergency room for strep throat or an ear infection. Of course if you have a serious illness or injury and you know that your primary care provider cannot handle it, you should either call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. For almost anything else, simply call Pediatrics West for help. We have twenty-four hour phone service, staffed by our own nurses (not an out-of-state call center). This means that they have access to your full medical record and will talk to a nurse that already knows your child.
Pediatrics West offers patient appointments and walk-in visits (check our web site for walk-in hours) almost every day of the year, beginning as early as 7:00 am and finishing as late as 8:00 pm, depending on the day. We offer a variety of laboratory testing and radiology services at our three locations. The vast majority of issues that occur outside of those times can be managed with home care until we are able to see your child the next day. If you ever have a question about whether your child can wait until the morning to be seen, please call us
At Pediatrics West, your child will be seen by staff trained to work with children. From the front desk check-in to the nurse who brings your child into the room and finally the provider, we are all pediatric specialists. Your nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or physician is state licensed and board certified with years of experience. Pediatrics West is recognized for offering the highest standards in caring for children. As parents, we should always be seeking the best for our families.
No one knows your child like their primary care provider. It is not simply that we have your child’s full medical history, medications, and allergies on file. It is more than having the notes from their prior visits with us and any specialists that they might have seen. What it is really about is that your child feels like we are part of your family. Many of our providers have been at Pediatrics West long enough to have seen your child grow from a newborn to a college student. We know what makes your family tick and how to provide not just the best technical care but support for your family.
As my colleague Joan Eagan likes to say, caring for children is a calling, not a job. We are privileged to enjoy the trust that you put in all of our staff in the care of your precious children. Please call us anytime that you need us.Leave a reply