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5/2/2014 - Doctors Express Bridgeport presents ER alternative

From Fairfield County Business Journal:

Dr. Steven Heffer is medical director and owner of Doctors Express Bridgeport at 161 Boston Ave. The new office has seven exam rooms, a procedure center and operates its own on-site lab, pharmacy and X-ray equipment.

Staff diagnose and treat illnesses, dispense medications, set bones and tend to other patient needs, all on-site. Besides urgent care, on-site services include pre-employment exams, drug screening, and pre-surgical, sports and school physicals.

Prior to joining Doctors Express, a national company with a site in Danbury, Heffer was affiliated with Greenwich Hospital as an attending emergency medicine physician. Before that, he served as attending physician at Waterbury Hospital and was previously an emergency physician in Massachusetts. He has been in practice for 20 years and is board certified in emergency medicine. He is a graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and completed his residency and internship at Bellevue Hospital and New York University Medical Center. He is a Fairfield resident and father of three, and is also the official general practitioner for the Bridgeport Bluefish.

Heffer talked about issues pertinent to the center for the FCBJ:

You’ve opened a new urgent care facility. How big is its footprint? How many on staff and in what positions?

“Our urgent care center is 3,700 square feet. We currently employ 12 to 15 people, some full-time staff as well as part-time. The positions include medical assistants, nurses and radiology technicians. We also have a full-time center administrator and marketing director.”

We hear of an increase in the number of insured nationally. What do the local data show?

“The local data indicate that Connecticut has had an increased number of insured, many recently signed before the recent deadline set by the federal government.”

What is an urgent care center? When did they begin? And, specifically, what treatments might a patient find in an urgent care facility?

“Urgent care centers have existed for several decades and have increased in numbers dramatically to address the changing climate of medicine and patient needs. Most urgent care centers treat everything: from broken bones, to lacerations, to respiratory illnesses, to name a few. There are never appointments needed, and the facilities are best suited for illness that doesn’t require critical care that the hospital ER provides.”

Does this make emergency rooms obsolete? What role does an urgent care facility play in the emergency equation?

“ERs will never be obsolete, but perhaps their use will be more focused on the critically ill and severe trauma.”

What about language barriers?

“Our city has many different spoken languages. We have bilingual staff available to help with interpretation.”

Why specifically do you see your facility as good for Bridgeport’s health?

“Our facility is state of the art, beautifully designed and oriented for patient comfort. We have digital X-ray, on-site pharmacy and laboratory. There aren’t any centers in this area that can deliver complete medical care as we do for the Bridgeport community. We handle traumatic injuries, infectious disease, orthopedics and also have full occupational medicine services. We will see any patient over 3 months of age.”