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Oswego Health Providing Healthcare Conveniences To Community

Consulting on a patient record are from the left Richard Koehler, M.D., medical director of Oswego Health’s Urgent Care Center in Fulton and Joshua Cascadden, Oswego Health physician assistant.
Consulting on a patient record are from the left Richard Koehler, M.D., medical director of Oswego Health’s Urgent Care Center in Fulton and Joshua Cascadden, Oswego Health physician assistant.

OSWEGO, New York – With Oswego Hospital’s $18 million first floor renovation and E.R. construction project well under way, residents are reminded that in addition to being treated in the hospital’s emergency department, they can seek care for their minor illnesses and minor injuries at the Fulton Urgent Care Center.

Dramatic renovations to the Emergency Department will ultimately provide the Oswego County community with a state-of-the-art facility that includes new private patient rooms, expanded waiting areas, and upgrades in technology and equipment. During construction, however, people are being encouraged to consider whether their symptoms truly require emergency care, or would be better suited at Oswego Health’s convenient new urgent care facility at 510 S. Fourth Street in Fulton.

“Emergency rooms are an integral part of any healthcare system, but an urgent care center, like our facility in Fulton, is where minor illnesses and minor injuries can be most efficiently treated,” said Ann C. Gilpin, President and CEO of Oswego Health. “Typically, in an urgent care setting, the wait time is shorter than at an emergency room, and care is often less expensive.”

Dr. Richard Koehler, the recently appointed Medical Director of the Urgent Care Center, emphasized that although certain medical emergencies need to be treated in an emergency room, a significant number of conditions are often better cared for in an urgent care facility.

At the Fulton location, the center is staffed with nurses and physicians, and is equipped to treat such conditions as: cuts or wounds that may require stitches, sprains, strains or deep bruises, mild to moderate asthma attacks, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, coughs and congestion, diarrhea, sore throats, insect bites and rashes.

“People are encouraged to consider their options when it comes to emergency or urgent care related services,” Dr. Koehler added. “The convenience and short travel time associated with our Fulton location often makes the most sense for patients.”

Like many other urgent care facilities across the country, the Fulton center expects to see an increase in patients as the trend toward urgent care utilization continues to rise.  According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average urgent care center visit is two to three times shorter than the average emergency room visit. At Oswego Health’s urgent care center, most patients, or 70 percent, were treated within two hours of their arrival.

The CDC study indicated that 68 percent of emergency room cases were considered urgent, semi-urgent or non-urgent.  Treatment in an urgent care center would be more convenient and affordable for many of these cases.  The increased use of urgent care facilities also in turn allows emergency rooms to concentrate on those needing more critical care.

Emergency Room Clinical Nurse Manager David Ramsey, R.N., said that despite the construction within the Oswego Hospital Emergency Department, patients should not hesitate to use the emergency services for any serious medical conditions.

The more serious medical conditions that should still be treated at an emergency room include: severe bleeding, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, trauma or injury to the head, sudden dizziness or difficulty breathing and severe abdominal pain.

“Our E.R. facility is fully operational during the construction project,” he said. “The relocation of our entrance to a temporary location on West Sixth Street, and the addition of new customer care representatives for our patients and their families, are just a few of the changes that we have made to accommodate those in need of our services during the renovation.”

The construction project is slated to be complete in late 2010.

The Oswego Healthcare system includes the Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing facility; Springside at Seneca Hill, a retirement living community; an urgent care center in Fulton; as well as health services centers in Mexico, Parish and Phoenix. For more information on Your New E.R., call (315) 349-5500 or visit www.oswegohealth.org/yournewer.cfm