EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 14, 2013

Urgent care facilities crop up all over region

Urgent care facilities see regional growth boom

Denise Survilas had a recent family health crisis.

Her son Mike, upset, called her from Woodbury School in Salem to tell her he had to get a physical right away so he could try out for the baseball team.

Within the hour, Survilas, her son and his brother Anthony were at ConvenientMD, a new urgent care center that opened last December in Windham.

ConvenientMD is on the front lines in a healthcare revolution in New Hampshire that has patients looking beyond their doctor’s office and the emergency room for treatment of less pressing health concerns.

The Survilases walked into the clinic on Indian Rock Road, a minute from Interstate 93, to find an open reception area — and no line.

“Everything’s easy here,” Denise Survilas said. “I can’t even believe it.”

For the Savilases, the price also was right. ConvenientMD, to build business, had provided vouchers to local schools for free sports checkups.

While Massachusetts has had more urgent care facilities, there, too, they are growing.

Pentucket Medical Associates moved its urgent care facility from North Andover to the Riverwalk complex in Lawrence several years ago, and recently expanded its services there.

Pentucket CEO John Sarro said the facilities fill a gap between primary care physicians and emergency rooms. Patients with noncritical problems can seek care, and avoid the long wait and expense associated with a trip to an emergency room.

“It does fill in that gap when a physician is not available, which is a lot of the time lately,” Sarro said. “With primary care physicians, there’s so much responsibility it can be overwhelming, but they do the best they can to meet the demand. When that’s not possible, we’re the safety net that catches those people.”

Pentucket expanded its Lawrence office and will add a new campus in Andover at the end of the year when a building on Lowell Street is completed.

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