To help ease the burden likely to be placed on emergency rooms, urgent care centers and hospitals with the possible influx of patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, The CORE Institute announced it will be providing walk-in orthopedic urgent care services at all of its clinical sites.
“We are opening [our pre-existing medical offices] for walk-in clinics, so that patients do not have to feel like they would go into the emergency room for an acute need,” Jason Scalise, MD, orthopedic surgeon at The CORE Institute and vice chair of Healthcare Outcomes Performance Company (HOPCo), told Healio Orthopedics. “They can come directly to our clinics and not have to go through the hassle of scheduling an appointment. They can simply walk in.”
Equipped with onsite X-ray, casting, splinting and suture kits, The CORE Institute’s Urgent Ortho service will treat patients on a walk-in basis with no appointment needed, according to a press release. The release also noted telemedicine options will be available soon for patients who want to receive care from home.
Reduce stress on the health system
According to Scalise, the reasons behind instituting the walk-in clinics are multifactorial. He noted patients with acute orthopedic injuries still have pressing needs relating to their care even during the current COVID-19 pandemic with the present and potential stresses on the health care system.
“As more and more stress is put on the health system, whether it is the emergency rooms or the hospitals or standard outlets for injuries, we wanted to make sure that our platform was still available to help decompress our community partners, but also to continue to be able to provide this service to the patients in need in a timely way,” Scalise said.
In addition to the walk-in clinic, physicians at The CORE Institute have also made themselves available to all of their hospital partners within the community, providing orthopedic on-call coverage to the hospitals and making sure patients do not need urgent hospital care, according to Scalise. He added they are implementing their surgical specialty hospital as an outlet for some of the injuries that would consume resources for hospitals.
“We still are health care providers and we feel a great loyalty and sense of personal responsibility to this community and we want to make sure that, while we are still able to, we can help in the ways that we can,” Scalise said.
Response from community partners
Scalise noted that community partners, from physicians in emergency rooms and urgent care centers to referring physicians, have responded greatly to the walk-in clinic.
“They have been thankful for the outlet as one less thing that they have to worry about. If they are presented with a patient who has an injury or some acute need, they do not have to try to figure out where ... this patient can find an appropriate landing spot,” he said. “They are comforted by the fact that they have a great line of communication and we can help solve that part of the spectrum for them.”
As physicians and health care providers, Scalise noted they have a unique position “to be able to provide a skillset to the community that other people may not be able to do,” and that they should ensure the well-being of each individual patient. He added physicians have a responsibility to “continue to move forward” and ensure a quick and reasonable recovery through COVID-19 as a country.
“Physicians have the ability to inject a great deal of humanity into this crisis that we find ourselves in and be able to always be providing a positive outlook because, certainly, a lot of patients and people in the community are looking toward that optimism,” Scalise said. “As we can provide that and provide good service and try to help as much as we can, that will help offload all of the other areas of stress.” – by Casey Tingle
Disclosure: Scalise reports no relevant financial disclosures.