Kids-only urgent care a new part of medical scene

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA.; March 19, 2014

To cover those 24/7 needs, there's a new option for emergency care.

Urgent care centers have become an everyday part of the medical scene.

Now Children's Hospital is the among the latest area hospitals to have one just for kids.

CHOP's specialty care offices in King of Prussia and Mays Landing, New Jersey, become urgent care centers at nights and weekends, when the pediatrician's office is closed, but the problem isn't serious enough for an emergency room.

Dr. Magna Chang Dias says the staff can handle ear aches, cuts, sore throats - and sports injuries.

"We can get you an x-ray, an evaluation, a splint if needed, and get you home in time for dinner, because we also know that parents have other children they they need to take care of," says Dr. Dias.

In addition to full x-ray capabilities, the urgent care centers can do lab tests, stitches, intravenous fluids, and more.

Dr. Chang Dias says parents want fast, convenient care for kids from infants to teens.

But CHOP doctors didn't think general urgent care centers offered that.

"They're not set up to take care of children. In fact, the american academy of pediatrics recently came out with a statement against retail-based clinics," she notes.

When kids get treatment at the urgent care center, doctors and nurses always keep the regular pediatrician in the information loop.

"We will send a fax out with our complete note the same day, and if it's something that is warranted, we'll actually call the pediatrician and speak to them," she says.

CHOP hasn't said whether it plans to open more after-hours centers.

Locally, St. Christopher's has an urgent care center at its offices in Abington. And this month, Shriners Hospital Philadelphia opened a walk-in urgent care clinic for kids' fractures and orthopedic injuries. Nationwide, other pediatric networks are also investing in them.

And as the demand for more lower-cost outpatient care continues, experts predict many more pediatric urgent care centers.

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