Vail Daily letter: Emergent, urgent care | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Emergent, urgent care

Reader Joyce Pfaff astutely identified an important issue in American medicine (Letters to the Editor, Oct. 6): expanding choices for where to get care means having to familiarize yourself with the landscape so that when the time comes, you'll know your options.

Centura Health opened the Emergency and Urgent Care Center in Avon, where I serve as a physician and the medical director, precisely because we see the opportunity to deliver emergent and urgent services through a new model that takes the guesswork and stress out of choosing where to go when time is tight. (By the way, the term "emergent," which Ms. Pfaff asked about, is simply an adjective we sometimes use for "emergency.")

Like a traditional emergency department, our center is open 24/7 and always staffed by board-certified emergency physicians and equipped with lab and imaging equipment. The difference is that patients are billed only for the level of service received, and this determination is based on well-established criteria which account for the individual needs of each patient and the extent of services provided. Other emergency departments can't offer this flexibility; they charge at emergency levels regardless of the severity of the issue, which can have significant financial consequences even for insured patients.

Beyond that, my top advice is to engage in preventive health measures and maintain a solid working relationship with a primary care provider. If you need a primary provider in the valley, then a good way to start is with the "find a doctor" feature at centura.org.

If you do have an unexpected need, then I hope you'll come see us at the Emergency and Urgent Care Center because expecting the unexpected is what we do.

Jack Gervais, MD

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Medical director, Centura Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center