BIDMC offers Outer Cape urgent care
Summer sun and fun can often bring less pleasant side effects like sun burns, lacerations and an occasional broken bone. While non-life-threatening, these injuries can create anxiety when the nearest hospital emergency room is miles away through sometimes packed roadways.
But thanks to a long-standing relationship between Outer Cape Health Services and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, urgent care is now available seven evenings a week from 5-9 p.m. at Outer Cape's Provincetown center.
The program, now in its second season, brings emergency room physicians from BIDMC to the outer cape to help handle a massive influx of summer residents, tourists and seasonal workers. OCHS, with a second clinic in Wellfleet, sees its normal volume of 7,000 patients swell by up to 4,000 additional people during the summer.
"The visitors are literally from all over the world as well as all over the United States and they're coming here mostly for a good time, a summer vacation. They may also be visitors who are coming to work in the summer resort areas or a function of making the Cape a great place to visit," says Sally Deane, the executive director.
"Often they don't have local insurance. They don't anticipate, whether they're visitors or locals, they might get a fish hook, they might step on some broken glass, they might have a health episode and they need readily available care."
In the past, patients would need to drive up to 90 minutes to Hyannis or upward of three hours to Boston.
"Now we have the benefit of the same emergency room physicians locally," she says.
"You expect anything you'd see at any emergency department, anything from a tick bite to a sunburn to a fracture to potentially a very low level trauma," says Maura Kennedy, MD, a BIDMC emergency physician. "It's the first place that a patient comes to, whether it's someone who lives in the town or whether it's someone who's visiting who has any sort of a medical need. It's where they can easily get health care. And I think it's unique in this area because there's not a nearby emergency room."
Outer Cape Health Services is a member of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Community Care Alliance of health centers, including The Dimock Center in Roxbury; South Cove Community Health Center in Chinatown and Quincy; the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center of Allston and Waltham; Fenway Health; the Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center of Boston and Bowdoin Street Health Center in Dorchester.