Carolinas HealthCare System has opened a new Children’s Urgent Care facility in Blakeney to better serve the needs of children at more convenient times and at a lower cost.
“The [emergency department] is typically a much higher cost than urgent care,” said Stephen Jones, vice president of CHS physicians service group, urgent care division. “And when the ED is the only option after hours, it can become a problem for some parents.”
Jones said the new Children’s Urgent Care will remain a stand-alone facility at 6025 Blakeney Park Drive off of Rea Road. It’s the second of its kind within CHS.
“We opened our first Children’s Urgent Care in Cotswold to better serve children in that area and to work with the Levine Children’s Hospital,” Jones said. “We saw a real need in that area and they were having a lot of success treating children in the ED.”
Jones said CHS wanted to see if an alternative could be provided outside of the hospital emergency department to reduce costs and increase convenience for patients and their families. So, the first CHS Children’s Urgent Care center was established in July 2010 at 231 South Sharon Amity Road. Jones said the new site in Blakeney will continue the mission of the first.
“The new Children’s Urgent Care will be open from noon until midnight, seven days a week,” Jones said. “It will be a convenient walk-in service, with no appointment necessary. This helps ease the load on nearby CHS EDs, and also provides an alternative to the ED, which is the only current option after 8 p.m.”
Jones said the new facility will ease the burden on local pediatric clinics as well, since two board-certified pediatricians, Dr. Anna Seal and Dr. Carisa Sutherlandas, will staff it.
“The typical definition of an urgent care center is an ambulatory medical center outside a hospital emergency department, where you can go without appointment,” Jones said. “It’s very similar to a physicians office with the services it offers, even X-ray facilities for treatment of minor fractures. This facility will just focus on children under 18.”
Jones said the new Children’s Urgent Care will still be aiding the Levine Children’s Hospital, but also will support CMC-Pineville and pediatrician practices located around the area, including Charlotte Pediatrics, Prosperity Pediatrics and Arboretum Pediatrics.
“This will help support the growth of the Carolinas HealthCare System pediatric market share,” Jones said. “The Blakeney area has a very high concentrated population of children for the Charlotte area and this is a market with a high density of pediatricians that CHC wants to help support to make sure parents have access to urgent care when regular pediatricians are not available.”
Phil Whitesell, director of corporate communications at Carolinas HealthCare System, said the organization has an app available on Apple and Android operating systems that list anticipated wait times at emergency departments and urgent care facilities within the system in real time.
“You can just search Carolinas HealthCare and the app should appear,” Whitesell said. “You can also view wait times on our website.”
Jones stressed that the goal of the new Children’s Urgent Care is quality care and convenience of access for area families.
“Peer coordination is an important part of this,” Jones explained. “Electronic medical records will be available at the new facility just like at our other facilities, meaning those records can be sent between pediatricians or specialists if they’re part of CHS. This means our pediatricians and physicians can work together for a patient more easily, even sending X-rays.”
Jones said this electronic records system makes it easier for CHS patients to move between urgent care facilities, like the new center in Blakeney, and a traditional physician’s office or ED.
“Peer coordination and outstanding quality of care is what it’s all about,” Jones said. “It’s to make things easier on the families and improve overall health-care practices. The physicians at the new urgent care are board-certified in pediatrics, specifically trained to bring the highest quality care to children.”
Find more information and view wait times at facilities within the CHS system at www.CHSurgentcare.org.