Orthopedic urgent care
Orthopedic Urgent Care
Orthopedic Urgent Care (OUC) is the current evolution of the same day appointments or walk-ins that orthopedic practices have been doing for years. The current trend of extending office hours into the evening and into the weekends has created many new job opportunities for PAs working in ortho. There have been many different ways that ortho practices have decided to design their “walk-ins”. Some have the physicians see all of the them. Some have the physicians cover the daytime and have PA/NPs cover the evening and weekend hours. Some have designed their program solely around PA/NPs.
Many challenges come up when starting an OUC. Staffing was one of my biggest challenges. The role of an OUC PA is a bit of a change from the traditional private practice PA. In our area of the country, most ortho surgeons and their PA have a specialty practice. Transitioning out of a total joint practice or a spine practice into OUC can create some challenges. Many of the younger PAs have only done one specialty their entire career. An OUC will see patients with cervical spine pain all the way down to that crooked small toe from kicking the bed last night and everything in-between. The OUC PA needs to be a generalist. They need to expand their knowledge to be able to deal with all body parts and of all chronicity.
The OUC PA needs to be able to work efficiently while providing quality musculoskeletal care. The OUC PA needs to be friendly and helpful. Often the OUC is the first exposure that the patient has to the ortho practice. This is an opportunity to capture new patients and retain them for the remainder of their musculoskeletal needs during their lifetime.
The OUC can be a great working environment for the ortho PA. It often creates an opportunity for increased autonomy. It also creates opportunity for expanding the PA’s knowledge base and increasing skills. Treatment may include doing a subacromial cortisone injection on one patient and reducing a distal radius fracture on the next. Or counseling the athlete that just tore his or her ACL. For some, it creates an opportunity to supplement their income by picking up shifts in the OUC. According to the 2017 PAOS Survey 26% of respondents reported that their practice offers some form of OUC. From the ortho practice standpoint, a OUC is a potential new revenue stream.
If you have any questions about adding an OUC to your practice or have questions about challenges that you are experiencing with your OUC, please reach out to me.
Mike Harvey, PA-C, MBA
Director of Urgent Care-OrthoIndy