“We will see you in 15 minutes or less,” Dr. John Radford promised a visitor recently at Five Star Urgent Care in Jamestown’s Riverwalk Center. “That’s important when you really don’t feel well. And we can keep that promise for 40 to 50 patients a day, with plans for more capacity soon.”
Urgent Care centers came into being in the 1970s and now number more than 10,000 nationwide. Dr. Radford is an emergency care specialist who was previously the ER Director at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk. He opened Five Star in Jamestown in partnership with Dr. Leonard Franco, previously the ER Director at Jamestown’s WCA Hospital. A sister Five Star Urgent Care Center, the first one opened, is already in full scale operation in Big Flats, NY.
Urgent care is usually defined as walk-in patient care outside of a hospital emergency department, usually on an unscheduled basis, for an illness or injury not serious enough for a hospital emergency call. Urgent care centers are not usually open on a 24/7 basis.
“We are not in competition with any hospital Emergency Departments,” Dr. Radford explained. “But that is a common misconception. In fact, urgent care centers can decongest hospital ERs and make them better by taking care of less critical cases that usually clog ER beds, delaying the critical care hospitals are best at. Urgent care facilities can decrease complaints about long ER waiting times.”
Sprains, sports injuries, cuts, burns, animal and bug bites are among the 26 kinds of conditions urgent care typically treats. They are all painful and urgent for the sufferer, but do not necessarily need multi-million dollar, space age facilities and full dress surgical teams to fix them. “That’s why an urgent care facility can cost a patient or an insurance company as little as a quarter the amount a hospital has to charge,” Dr. Radford explained. “And only one bill—instead of the flurry of bills and paperwork a hospital may send you home with,” he added.
“But we know the difference if a bigger emergency shows up,” Dr. Radford reassures patients. “We can transfer a patient to the best, most advanced facilities in minutes. We’re only a couple of blocks from WCA and their soon-to-be opened, state of the art new Emergency Department.” Five Star has lab, EKG, x-ray and other standard diagnostics in their exam rooms, but also has cooperative arrangements in place with both WCA and medical offices in the Riverwalk Center for advanced diagnostic technology when necessary.
Tele-medicine is also at the forefront of the urgent care model in the Twenty-first Century. “A doctor can only be in one place at a time, physically,” Dr. Radford said. “But, no matter where I am, our video systems will be able to place me face-to-face with a patient, the physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, radiology tech and family members on a moment’s notice. Our x-rays and lab reports are digital, too, so I can review them with a patient in real time, anywhere.”
This ‘virtual bedside’ video technology has now taken physicians along in ambulances and with first responders to nearly inaccessible locations and made physician’s assistant, nurse practitioners and emergency workers the indispensible, first line caregivers in settings like urgent care facilities. “Our physician’s assistants all have a minimum of 10 years of in-hospital emergency department experience,” Dr. Radford said. “Dr. Franco and I can be with them anywhere, anytime, no matter where we are.”
“We also know that your time is valuable,” Dr. Radford reassured a patient. “You won’t have to wait at our center to be seen and treated, and you won’t have to wait at the pharmacy. We send prescriptions in electronically so it will be ready and waiting for you.” He also promises that a typical time spent between entering and leaving urgent care is 30 to 60 minutes while a typical ER visit is close to four hours.
Door-to-door patient satisfaction is a critical component of urgent care facilities. “Our staff will be trained to the standards of the Disney Institute. We’re sending some of our staff soon with others to follow,” Dr. Radford said. The Disney Institute is the professional development arm of The Walt Disney Company, globally recognized for training in “time-tested best practices, sound methodologies, and real life business lessons that facilitate corporate culture excellence.”
Five Star Urgent Care currently maintains a staff of 10 full time employees, all of whom are local residents. At this time, Dr. Radford says, this is more than enough to assure that all care is fast and all patients will see the right caregivers right away. “This new center in Jamestown is still maturing, as we develop our systems and establish our best practices and routines,” he said, but ultimately, the urgent care model suggests as many as 75 to 100 patients can be seen efficiently in a 12-hour day.
To learn more about Five Star Urgent Care, http://www.fivestaruc.com/, call (716) 489 3144, or visit them at the Riverwalk Center, 15 S Main St Jamestown, NY, Monday to Friday, 10AM – 10PM and Saturday/Sunday, 10AM – 4PM.
Five Star Urgent Care treats*
Colds Flu Sinus Infection Asthma Attacks
Pneumonia Dehydration Bronchitis Urinary Tract Infections
Rashes Sprains Back Pain Cuts and Lacerations
Burns Accidents Animal Bites Foreign Bodies
Splinters Abrasions Sports Injuries Abscesses
Falls Sore Throat Strep Throat Eye Injuries and Pink Eye
Gastrointestinal Ailments Gynecological issues
Pre-employment school and camp physicals
*Five Star Urgent Care also has diagnostic testing on site including EKG, lab and X-ray and the ability to give IV fluids