The faculty of the Department of Family & Community Medicine has created a new immediate care practice that will give faculty, staff and students on the university and hospital campus a more convenient way to access non-emergency health care services. UMaryland Immediate Care opened May 12 at 408 West Lombard Street, a space just around the corner from the Family & Community Medicine offices at 29 South Paca Street. The number for the UMaryland Immediate Care is (410) 328-1362 or x8-1DOC.
UMaryland Immediate Care is open five days a week, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will only serve faculty, staff and students of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the University of Maryland Medical Center and University Physicians Inc. Immediate Care has a two-fold mission. One of its goals is to provide campus employees and students with quick, convenient care with short waiting times. At the same time, Immediate Care aims to keep referrals for employee health among School of Medicine faculty rather than sending them to outside specialists.
“Increasingly, patients are looking to convenient medical practices to fulfill their everyday health needs,” said Kevin S. Ferentz, M.D., associate professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine and Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine. “A walk-in practice near a patient’s workplace can be more convenient for busy schedules than an appointment with a primary care provider. We want to make non-emergency, non-chronic care more convenient for those of us on campus. We also hope Immediate Care will help keep campus employees, students and faculty within the University of Maryland family for their specialty care. It’s a solution that benefits all of us,” says Dr. Ferentz, who will serve as medical director of the new initiative.
UMaryland Immediate Care is intended to treat non-emergency and non-chronic issues: headaches, fevers, colds, ear infections, nausea, heart palpitations. If a problem requires specialty care, the doctors and nurse practitioner will refer patients to specialists at the School of Medicine. For chronic conditions, patients will be sent to their primary care physician for ongoing care. Students, however, will be able to receive primary care at Immediate Care — the Department of Family & Community Medicine already provides those services to students at their main practice on Paca Street.
The specialists on campus have agreed with the Department of Family & Community Medicine that patients referred by UMaryland Immediate Care will get top priority for appointments. That means patients referred by Immediate Care will have much shorter waits for scheduling appointments with specialists on campus, rather than the weeks or even months they might have to wait for outside doctors.
Bill Elliott, chief operating officer at University Physicians Inc. (UPI) says, “We’ve made a commitment here at UPI to get appointments with specialists scheduled in an accelerated time frame to keep people here on campus for their medical care.”
Getting appointments with specialists quickly “is a real value-added service,” says Kathy Maddock, senior administrator of the Department of Family & Community Medicine. “We’ll also be implementing electronic medical records soon for students, faculty and staff that will help connect their care between Immediate Care, their specialists and the hospital. We’ve designed Immediate Care as a portal for their care.”
The Department of Family & Community Medicine already operates a similar practice on Paca Street, which is open to the public. Immediate Care will streamline the flow of employees and students and hopefully shorten their wait for care. The new facility, with eight exam rooms, will open at 7 a.m. with patients’ work schedules in mind. “We’ve set the hours so that people can be seen before they come into work,” says Ms. Maddock. “We’re going to try to get them in and out as quickly as possible so they do not have to wait.”
UMaryland Immediate Care is physically connected to the Department of Family & Community Medicine’s Paca Street office, so doctors will be able to move smoothly between the two facilities. “We hope that by making it more convenient for people to seek care, we’ll be able to take care of small health issues and refer patients to specialists before these little things become larger health issues,” says Mr. Elliott. “This will be good for all of us.”