Mount Sinai Goes Crosstown with New Center
by Amanda Woods Mount Sinai Hospital recently opened an urgent care center on the Upper West Side, a step that administrators consider important for the hospital, for the neighborhood and for urban medical care. "The hospital is trying to expand its presence on the West Side, bringing in new patients who don't want to go across the park," said Dr. Judah Fierstein, one of two doctors at the center, which opened May 30. "The biggest thing is that the hospital is just recognizing that the urgent care model is really attractive to patients and that it's hopefully a way also to unburden the emergency room, to care better for the people who really have to be in emergency rooms and not overwhelm the many other people who could be cared for in a more appropriate setting." The Upper West Side, with its high foot traffic and high-rise apartments, is a key location for Mount Sinai to extend its services, said Bill Foresman, the administrative manager at Mount Sinai Urgent Care. But urgent care is growing in demand not only on the Upper West Side, but citywide and nationwide, he added. "Americans are trying to find more alternatives on a basic care level," Foresman said. "If you look across most urban places like New York City and you want a primary doctor to take care of your needs, good luck finding one." Urgent care centers like his offer an alternative for hard-to-reach primary care doctors-and overcrowded emergency rooms. Mount Sinai's center handles nonemergency health problems such as allergies, colds, fevers, gastrointestinal problems and heart palpitations. It also offers basic physical examinations, X-rays, on-site lab services, HIV testing and vaccinations. Patients don't have to make an appointment and can simply walkin. Most patients are seen within five to seven minutes. On the second floor of the new center, Mount Sinai has a different kind of medical office-a multispecialty physician practice. If urgent care patients need to see cardiologists, dermatologists, orthopedists or other specialists, they cansimply go upstairs, instead of traveling elsewhere, Fierstein said. The center also offers an online service called MyMountSinaiChart, which allows for easy communication between doctors and patients. Patients can review their medications, immunizations, allergies and medical history online and can use the service to retrieve test results within 72 hours after they have been released. The new center helps Mount Sinai get ahead and respond to a growing health care need, Dr. Fierstein said. "There are a lot of private people who are getting into his business who see that it's a very attractive model, and the hospital doesn't want to fall too far behind," he said. "The integration into a larger medical center will really have an appeal." Mount Sinai Urgent Care will be open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No appointments are necessary and most insurance plans are accepted. For information about the new center, call 212-828-3250 or visit www.mountsinai.org/urgentcare
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