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GoHealth Urgent Care Opening Sept. 1 In Meriden

August 28, 2017

Is this the new shape of urgent care in America, with a reception area but no receptionist and no patient paperwork, open space instead of walls, no magazines (but complimentary decaf Tazo tea) in the waiting area and oversize examination rooms?

C'mon in. But not for long: You won't spend the day waiting to hear your name called at the new Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care center in Meriden. The center, across the street from the Townline Square Shopping Center, is among the first wave of as many as 15 urgent-care centers in the next 18 months to be operated jointly by Hartford HealthCare and GoHealth Urgent Care, which manages close to 50 urgent-care centers in New York, the Portland (Ore.) metropolitan area and the San Francisco Bay Area -- all in a casual, welcoming setting with its signature orange accents.

"This partnership will revolutionize the way urgent care is provided in Connecticut," says Jeffrey Flaks, president and chief operating officer of Hartford HealthCare.

That could be an understatement. Visitors to the Meriden urgent care center are greeted by an electronic sign-in via mounted  tablet -- are you a walk-in or did you check-in online? -- swipe a driver's license and insurance card at a card-reader stationed at the reception desk, then sign a couple things. That's it, until they're summoned by a member of the medical staff. The provider can retrieve your medical system using Hartford HealthCare's Epic system and, while reviewing your prior conditions and medication list on a laptop, you can follow along on a widescreen display mounted on an examination room wall.

"Our customers want convenience, quality and great overall experience," says Elliot Joseph, Hartford HealthCare's CEO. "They have choices."

Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth urgent centers typically will be staffed by a physician and/or a physician's assistant, a radiology technician and medical assistants.

"Our best-in-class caregivers and team members are ready to provide a welcoming culture of care and effortless experiences that put our patients first," says Todd Latz, CEO of GoHealth Urgent Care.

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Occupational medicine will be a primary focus at the newest Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care center, with full-service occupational screening and management of occupational injuries to the industry-rich Meriden-Wallingford employer community. The center will also offer employment-related screenings and working to prevent the occurrence of occupational injuries

Major services will include:

  • Physical examinations for all occupations and industries.
  • Fitness for duty assessment.
  • Drug screening.
  • DOT-Certified Medical Examiners.
  • Special programs for respirator wearers and other OSHA compliance requirements.
  • Management of occupational Injuries with a focus on limiting lost work time.
  • Education and prevention programs designed to reduce the incidence of workplace injuriesInternational travel medicine services will include:
  • Review of traveler’s itinerary and recommended vaccinations and precautions as noted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Provision of any needed vaccinations and prescriptions in preparation for travel.
  • Travel-related vaccines can also be used for other purposes, such as for student health

So what brings you here? The urgent care center is a relatively new phenomenon, kickstarted by Obamacare as a less-expensive alternative to emergency rooms for patients who need immediate care for conditions that are not life-threatening.

Some examples:

  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Fever
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Emphysema
  • Minor skin lacerations, cuts
  • Burns
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sports injuries, sprains and strains.

Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care centers will also provide lab services and X-rays for joint and bone injuries, using a portable machine that's wheeled into the examination room. The X-ray machine is among the features that distinguish an urgent care center from a retail clinic, which are usually staffed by nurse practitioners and offer more basic services like flu shots, vaccinations and treatment of minor wounds, joint sprains, poison ivy and other skin conditions.

The urgent care centers do not treat:

  • Major trauma
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Severe bleeding
  • Vision loss

In any of these situations, dial 911 or visit a Hartford HealthCare emergency room immediately.

If you need care beyond the scope of the Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care center, whether a primary care or specialty care, your electronic records can be accessed by caregivers in the Hartford HealthCare network.

The new Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care center at 482 South Broad St. in Meriden opens Sept. 1. Its hours will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment before Sept. 1, call 860.698.4303. After Sept. 1, call 203.439.4485  or check in online by clicking here.

Health News Hub correspondent Gina Chamberland contributed to this story.