Increasingly downtown hospitals rely on satellite facilities to reach consumers beyond the city center
But with more and more hospitals opening community satellite facilities and/or becoming affiliated with independent health-care providers, individuals potentially have access to services right in their neighborhood.
The Hospital of St. Raphael's McGivney Cancer Center is one of several community medical centers in the area. The hospital has opened a new cardiology facility inside the same facility.
Fairfield residents who encounter an emergency, for example, don’t have to go to Bridgeport Hospital for immediate care. They can utilize services right in their town, at the Fairfield Urgent Care Center on Stillson Road.
Â“Our Fairfield [County] urgent care centers clearly have some advantage to [hospital] emergency department,Â” says Michael Werdmann, MD, chairman of Bridgeport HospitalÂ’s Department of Emergency Medicine. Â“At lots of hospitals, clearly there are a lot of things we see in the emergency department that donÂ’t require the full services of a hospital.Â”
Some of those needs include small lacerations, splinting and X-ray Â— services an urgent care center often is better equipped to handle, Werdmann explains.
There are additional Bridgeport Hospital urgent care/walk-in medical centers in Stratford, Shelton, Monroe and Trumbull.
Anita Shrum, Bridgeport HospitalÂ’s director of emergency services, estimates that between 60 and 70 percent of emergency patients have maladies that Â“are not emergency and could be treated adequately at an urgent-care facility.Â” Community-based urgent-care centers, she says, Â“can hugely impact an emergency departmentÂ” by lessening its load. She says sheÂ’d like to see them utilized much more by area residents.
Making patients more aware of its outsource services is one of the goals of New HavenÂ’s Hospital of Saint Raphael (HSR) as it opens a new cardiology facility at 2080 Whitney Avenue in Hamden. To help raise awareness, staff will offer informational sessions in June focusing on issues such as CPR, stroke awareness, diabetes, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and smoking cessation.
The new Hamden office focuses on general cardiovascular care and includes services such as stress testing, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and vascular ultrasound. The services complement those offered at other HSR community medical centers such as the Hamden Blood Draw Center, the Fr. Michael J. McGivney Cancer Center, Occupational Health Plus and Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, Chapel Pediatrics and Saint RaphaelÂ’s Eldercare Clinic.
Â“Adding cardiology and other new services to our existing capabilities at 2080 Whitney Avenue will truly make the Hamden site a multidisciplinary setting, providing residents with easier access to a broader range of services,Â” Hahn said.
The new Yale-New Haven Hospital's East Haven outpatient facility. The hospital also has satellite care facilities in Hamden, there Haven, West Haven, Branford, Madison, and Guilford.
Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) also has a number of satellite care facilities. In addition to the main facility in New Haven, there are outpatient services medical facilities in Guilford and Hamden; blood-draw stations in Hamden, North Haven, West Haven, Madison and Branford; radiology services in Guilford, East Haven, Madison; and an urgent care unit in East Haven, among others
Also, right in New Haven services offered in addition to those at the 20 York Street main hospital include medical, surgical and recovery centers, a radiology facilities and blood-draw stations
YNHHÂ’s Urgent Care facility in East Haven opened in May. Within three months, an average of some two dozen patients were being seen by medical professionals there daily, according to staff. A survey of area residents, who voiced a need for the acute-care center, helped bring it to East Haven.
The facility, located at 317 Foxon Road, addresses non-life-threatening emergency medical needs, such as work-related injuries, small cuts and earaches. The East Haven facility not only helps East Haveners avoid the longer trip to the main hospital in New Haven during for a medical emergency, it also helps decrease patient overflow in the main hospitalÂ’s emergency room.
According to a recent article in the Boston Business Journal focusing on the entrepreneurial aspect of community urgent care centers, thereÂ’s been a Â“national trend toward entrepreneurial alternatives to emergency room care for non-life-threatening illnesses.Â” The article notes that two Massachusetts doctors who opened such a center received substantial funding from lender Century Bank. The business model the entrepreneurial pair presented, states the BBJ article, Â“inspired confidence in Century Bank, which granted the partners a $500,00 small business loan to launch the venture.Â”
At Quinnipiac University, a new physical therapy clinic opened recently. It is staffed by students, who offer services free of charge to referred patients.
Â“Right now weÂ’re only accepting referrals,Â” says Traci Underhill. She, along with fellow Quinnipiac sixth-year physical therapy student Meredith Wolanin, opened the service, called Volunteers in Service Impacting Our Neighborhoods (VISION) Rehabilitation at Quinnipiac University. It is open weekly, Tuesday evenings, on QUÂ’s North Haven campus.
The unit taps into another potential advantage of satellite facilities: the ability to target a particular population and/or offer a specific service. Currently, care is available exclusively to uninsuredÂ patients.
Quinnipiac University physical therapy students Traci Underhill, center, and Meredith Wolanin, right, work at Vision Rehabilitation at Quinnipiac University on the North Haven Campus.
Â“Our patients have no health insurance, so we know weÂ’re not stepping on the toes of any other provider in the area,Â” explains Underhill.
Â“Physical therapy often is a benefit that most people with insurance tend to have,Â” adds Wolanin. Â“To pay out-of-pocket is crazily expensive.Â”
The Quinnipiac physical therapy clinic fills a void, Wolanin says.
Â“Without it, they [patients] would not get what they need.Â” In the past, she notes, patients at the referral facility who could not afford physical therapy would have only been prescribed pain medication Â— in essence treating the symptom, not the cause.
VISION receives its referrals click here Haven Free Clinic, which is operated by Yale health professions students in conjunction with the Fair Haven Community Health Center.
Â“ThereÂ’s a significant need for this clinic,Â” says Underhill, who notes that while 27 percent of Haven patients have complained about musculoskeletal disorders, Haven does not have a physical-therapy unit.
Â“For our patients, they obviously receive physical therapy services they otherwise wouldnÂ’t be able to access,Â” says Underhill.
Â“IÂ’ve always been drawn to service opportunities,Â” says Wolanin. She adds that while there are programs for those training in health-care services to travel to underdeveloped areas throughout the world and help address the medical concerns of indigent populations, there also is need here in the United States.
Â“For example, thereÂ’s a program to go to Nicaragua,Â” says Wolanin. Â“So many students apply. But itÂ’s frustrating to see that there are people in our own neighborhood who donÂ’t get the care that they need.Â”
The student-run campus physical therapy center also provides an added advantage for its volunteer practitioners, Underhill says.
Â“It gives mentorship opportunities. Students work in teams, and the practice under the oversight of our faculty members.Â”
There are scores of volunteers, adds Wolanin.
Â“We have over 100 student volunteersÂ” signed up, she says. But, as in the case of many student-operated initiatives such as this, continuity of care might become an issue.
The clinic is seeking ways to address that, as well as further serve the community with enhanced services and by addressing concerns that could impede the delivery of those services, such as lack of transportation.
Â“WeÂ’re constantly looking for grantsÂ” and seeking fundraising opportunities, says Wolanin. Not only would funds be used to purchase equipment, they would be channeled into the population served by the clinic, she says.
Â“We want to put the money back into the patient population Â— for example, money for cab fare. Often transportation is an issue.Â”
Plans for eventual expansion of care include incorporating occupational therapy and nursing to its pro bono offerings.
The free physical therapy clinic is not necessarily a new concept, but itÂ’s one the students want to improve on. Â“We hope that click here can serve as a model,Â” says Underhill.