A few weeks ago, I took a nasty fall heading to close a window in the dark of the night. The next day, Sunday, my chest hurt with every deep breath, so I figured maybe I should get it checked. Luckily, I recalled seeing a CityMD location a few blocks away. (They have an easily recognizable logo that I always noticed passing by.) I decided to give them a try, rather than trying to see whoever was covering for my own doctor.
As I walked in to the CityMD office about 11 am on a Sunday morning, I was greeted immediately and handed a typical medical questionnaire to fill, with personal and insurance information. After completing the registration, I only waited a few minutes in the light, pleasant, almost empty waiting room, before I was taken to an examining room. There a young male physicians’ assistant took my vitals, reviewed the medical questionnaire information and left me to wait for the doctor. By now, no more than 15 minutes had elapsed from the time I walked in.
After about half an hour wait the doctor came in, quickly reviewed the medical information and send me for a chest x-ray. The X-ray was quick and the results came in minutes. The doctor returned to tell me that I had a slight fracture on a rib. She tied a bandage around my chest and told me it would heal in 4-6 weeks. The doctor spoke with an accent that sounded Eastern European, but we had no problem communicating.
The entire visit took approximately one hour.
The following morning I received a call from CityMD giving me the good news that a radiologist had reviewed the x-ray and determined that the ribs were only bruised, not fractured. This was clearly the accurate diagnosis, since I was fully painless within two weeks.
What did I take away from this experience?
- The patient processing system was very efficient and they got you assessed quickly. I assume that if my situation was more acute, the doctor would have seen me sooner.
- Each of the half a dozen or so examining rooms had a system of tags outside the door telling the staff what had already been done to the patient. It seemed very efficient.
- The fact that the diagnosis changed was a little disconcerting, but had no real impact in my case.
- I had used a different walk-in facility before for a tick bite and that visit took much longer and I had to wait in a very unattractive and crowded waiting room. CityMD was a far better overall experience.
- As far as cost, I believe that my Medicare and supplemental covered everything, but I may not yet have received the final statement.
- I would definitely use them again if I had a relatively minor problem, particularly if it happened on a weekend. If it were anything more serious I would want to see my own doctor or one of her on-call associates.
Here is a link to Mount Sinai hospital’s advice on when to use urgent care vs. emergency care.