Children in Saratoga County with evening fevers, stomach aches and other minor illness now have a middle ground between trips to the hospital and parents frantically searching the Internet for answers.
Community Care Physicians has opened the region’s first pediatric urgent care center in Halfmoon at 1735 Route 9, next to Giffy’s Barbecue and close to the Clifton Park border. Serving newborns to patients age 18 on a walk-in basis, the facility is staffed by pediatricians and pediatric nurses from 6 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 8 p.m. on weekends.
Dr. Barbara Morris, chief medical officer and practicing pediatrician for Community Care, cited the special niche that children represent. Hospitals and adult urgent care centers are adequate for children, but not optimal, Morris said. “We saw that as a gap.”
The new center allows children to be treated in an atmosphere that is more comforting, she said. It resembles a pediatrician’s office with toys, child-size tables and chairs and books. It avoids the sterile and sometimes frighting atmosphere of a hospital waiting room.
“It keeps children calmer,” Morris said. “It gives them age appropriate and developmentally appropriate things to do.”
The center will also ensure that children are being treated by professionals specifically trained in pediatrics. Morris said that this type of service also provides a level of comfort to parents.
Even people who don’t see Community Care doctors are eligible to use the services. The center is cheaper than a visit to the hospital, she said, as co-pays for a doctor’s office are almost always less than a trip to the hospital. The center is located in an existing pediatric office. “We thought that Clifton Park was a fairly central place in the Capital Region,” she said.
“It seemed like a good place to start this kind of practice,” she said.
Stillwater town Health Officer Annette Melber, who has 50 years of nursing experience, called the location convenient.
“In this area we have Saratoga [Hospital], which is 16 miles away … and St. Mary’s or Samaritan, another 17 or 18 miles away,” Melber said. “If you’ve got something six or seven miles away you’ve got a gift.”
Morris estimated they would probably serve about 25 patients on weekdays and a few more on weekends, with variation depending on the severity of cases. For now it is expected that only people in the immediate area will use the service, although they expect it to grow rapidly. In the future, she said, they hope to demonstrate enough need to expand.
The center can do basic lab work, utilizes electronic medical records, provides referrals to specialists and accepts most major insurance plans.
Community Care Physicians is a multi-specialty care group that has more than 35 practices in the Capital Region.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Schenectady County