PROVINCETOWN -- As the population of Cape Cod grows in the summer so too does the chance of a medical emergency. But the nearest hospital to popular tourist destinations like Provincetown and Truro is in Hyannis - a 50-mile drive.
BIDMC will attempt to meet this need for tourists and residents by partnering with Outer Cape Health Services, beginning July 1 and running as a trial through mid-September. The partnership not only extends the hours for urgent care treatment at OCHS from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, but it also offers treatment on Sundays for the first time.
"We always knew there was a need," said Jayne Carvelli Sheehan, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory and Emergency Services. Partnering with Richard Wolfe, MD, Chief of Emergency Medicine, they put together the pilot under the medical direction of Stephen Traub, MD, who will coordinate physician coverage and planning. "The leadership at OCHS has embraced the idea and Dr. Traub and is looking forward to this enhanced affiliation," Carvelli Sheehan said.
BIDMC Emergency Dept physicians will be "on call" as back up during the day to assist clinicians at OCHS should the need arise, Carvelli Sheehan said. At night, one emergency room doctor from BIDMC will run the center while another BIDMC ED physician remains on call. While true emergency cases, such as victims of bad car accidents, would still be sent to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, urgent care needs like the treatment of sprains, lacerations, infections, simple bone breaks, or severe sunburns among many other ailments, can now be treated at OCHS.
Carvelli Sheehan said the BIDMC ED physicians running the urgent care clinic will stay in two homes in the Provincetown-Truro area, paid for by Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
OCHS is a community health center that has been affiliated with BIDMC for 15 years. Carvelli Sheehan said several specialty care divisions such as pulmonary, infectious disease and gastroenterology send specialists from the medical center to do sessions and care for patients at OCHS. She hopes the creation of the urgent care clinic will strengthen this existing alliance.
The pilot program will run through mid September, after which its success will be evaluated.