It's 10:28 a.m. on a Monday morning and you’re rushing to get from a meeting that ran late to another meeting that’s starting in two minutes. You decide to take the steps rather than an elevator, with thoughts that it will be quicker, and you can burn off a few calories. You are three steps down the stairs when suddenly, your ankle twists. Instantly, you are in pain. And you cannot walk. That 10:30 a.m. meeting now seems a lot less important and the only thing that matters is seeing a healthcare professional.
You think about heading to the emergency department, but you know that other people with more serious medical issues will likely be there and it may take a while to be seen. Then you remember that MedStar Health recently opened a new Orthopaedic Urgent Care Center at its Bel Air Medical Campus.
“A large percentage of emergency department visits are related to lower intensity issues that are not life threatening, from sprained a nkles and knees to fractured collar bones or broken fingers,” says Leslie Matthews, MD, a board-certified surgeon and clinical leader with MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. “It’s important for people with these injuries to be seen by a healthcare professional, but in some cases, they endure longer wait times in the emergency department since patients with more urgent or time-sensitive issues need to be seen first. Our new Orthopaedic Urgent Care Center offers a unique alternative—one that can deliver rapid access to care and a prompt resolution.”
The Orthopaedic Urgent Care Center, housed within MedStar PromptCare in Bel Air, opened this past summer. Patients who present with orthopaedic-related injuries see an urgent care physician or a specially trained nurse practitioner for on-the-spot evaluation, X-rays if needed, and treatment, which may include bracing and casting. When a patient comes in with a more sophisticated or complex injury, the urgent care provider can consult with an on-site orthopaedic specialist to come up with the best possible solution or care plan, or provide a referral.
“We’ve created a truly unique model and approach to care for patients with orthopaedic injuries,” Dr. Matthews explains. “Our urgent care providers and orthopaedic specialists collaborate and share information to streamline the care process for patients. And when the patient needs to follow up with an orthopaedist, we make it easy for them. We’ve created a pathway for these patients to see our doctors quickly and easily.”
The Orthopaedic Urgent Care Center treats teenagers and adults. The decision to offer the service in Bel Air is part of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center’s ongoing effort to provide more comprehensive care for people who live or work in Harford County, and who need access to more quality healthcare options.
“We are trying to bring an enhanced level of orthopaedic service to Bel Air and the surrounding communities, and give people a viable option for quick and convenient care when accidents or injuries do happen,” adds Dr. Matthews. “It’s already clear that people from this area appreciate we are there and are turning to us for care when they need it.”
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More people visit medical facilities for musculoskeletal conditions—which include arthritis, osteoporosis and injuries to the bones, muscles, tendons or ligaments—than for any other reason.
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute combines the skill and expertise of more than 80 physicians who care for patients at MedStar Health’s four Baltimore hospitals and at more than 20 community locations, providing convenient access to the area’s top orthopaedic experts.