Health Care and Real Estate

Orthopedic practice extends reach

October 29, 2014
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Orthopedic practice extends urgent care reach
Doctors at the OAM NOW urgent care clinic in Kentwood treat any bone-related injury or wound. Courtesy OAM

A medical practice focused on treating bone-related injuries has opened its second urgent care clinic to meet demand for specialized care from a growing patient base.

Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan, or OAM, in Grand Rapids said last week that it has opened an OAM NOW clinic in Kentwood, at 4665 44th St. SE.

Patient volume

Staffed by orthopedic specialists, mid-level providers and orthopedic fellows, OAM NOW was originally launched in 2013 in northeast Grand Rapids.

With approximately more than 6,100 patients treated in the last 20 months, the practice decided to open a second location in the market. A demographic search identified Kentwood as the location with the greatest need at this point.

“The need for orthopedic urgent care was increasing, and with the patient volume at our Leffingwell office, as well as on the south side of town, we wanted to ensure patients had the ability to seek care,” said Mary Dale, chief operating officer, OAM.

“We also have plans to expand to other areas in the future as well, so this won’t just be a one-time expansion.”

Dr. James Ringler, president of OAM, said the demand for the specialized urgent care services has been "tremendous" since the initial launch.

“We’re seeing 12 to 30 patients per night from all over the Grand Rapids area and from as far away as Ingham and Isabella counties,” Ringler said. “When we analyzed where people are coming from and what urgent care options are available in the area, we determined that it would be a strong benefit to the region to open a second OAM NOW location on the southeast side.”

Kentwood clinic

The OAM NOW clinic in Kentwood provides same-day appointments on weekdays, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., for those with a range of injuries: fractures, back and neck pain, sports injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, strains, sprains and more.

The specialized urgent care clinic also offers walk-in appointments on weekdays, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

The clinic offers several services: x-rays, sutures, physical therapy, occupational therapy, casting and splinting.

“They do anything bone related, whether young or old, however they injured it," Dale said. “If it’s something they can’t treat there, they can do a direct admit to the ER, and then people aren’t sitting in line at the ER with an issue. We work with most of the hospital systems. It is really just based on patient choice.”

Comparative savings

Dennis Gregory, certified physician assistant with OAM, said patients are seen immediately and receive quality specialist care at a relatively lower cost.

“They skip the ER and urgent-care facility charges,” Gregory said. “They get treated quicker, and if they need surgery or other follow-up care, they have faster, direct access to OAM physicians with no referral needed.”

OAM said that the wave of patients seen at its OAM NOW location in Grand Rapids since early 2013 has an created an estimated cost savings of $500,000 in urgent care and ER co-pays.

Dale said that OAM NOW’s ability to manage care costs is due to the clinic having its own radiology, imaging and specialists, which results in patients paying a specialty co-pay through their insurance, rather than a typical urgent care or ER fee.

“They don’t pay any radiology overwrite fees to a separate radiology company, because our doctors read all their own images,” Dale said. “There are a lot of extra charges that happen when you visit an ER as well as an urgent care.”

Dale added that as companies look to manage health care costs, particularly when providing a self-insured platform and with patients dealing with high-deductible plans, the clinic’s specialized treatment can benefit employers and patients.

“I think for anybody the cost is a huge thing, not only for patients and their families, but also employer groups,” Dale said.

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