Urgent Care Center opens at GMH - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Urgent Care Center opens at GMH

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - Guam residents can now avail themselves to urgent care services at the Guam Memorial Hospital as GMH has opened the doors to its Urgent Care Center.

Residents no longer need to wait to be seen at the hospital's emergency room for conditions that do not qualify as an emergency instead patients who are in need of urgent care will be seen at the hospital's newest ward the urgent care center. GMH administrator Joseph Verga told KUAM News, "To urge folks to use the community clinics and the urgent care where possible but if they need to come by all means if they need to come to the ER or the urgent care the urgent care should take care of them a lot quicker 59 and a lot more expeditiously than the ER will."

The Urgent Care Center is currently a pilot program at the hospital which was devised with the intent to relieve the pressures of the hospital's emergency room, as well as reduce the costs of care. "The emergency room has been and the whole hospital has been extremely busy I think in fact this past Saturday we set a record for the volume of patients we took care of over the weekend it was just incredible," he explained.

Patients who need to be seen in the urgent care center will still proceed through the emergency room entrance where they will be triaged and then will be directed to the urgent care center. Director of special services and overseeing the Urgent Care Center is Belle Rada, who said, "We have five exam rooms all together and we designated one room as our specialty room where we will do procedures like suturing or some of our GYN procedures EKG so it's going to be our specialty room and the other four exam rooms are in front of our nurses station."

"We have one physician that will take care of urgent care and we also have like three nursing staff plus one ward clerk," he said.

Verga says that Dr. Ricardo Terlaje will be the primary urgent care physician he adds that they are in the process of securing another physician and are recruiting additional nurse practitioners. The Urgent Care Center will be able to accommodate and treat five patients at a time in the approximately 1,000 square foot space which was once the old ER. Verga says that the total cost for the urgent care center was $30,000 these funds are from revenues generated from the gaming tax.

While Verga says the primary goal for the Urgent Care Center is to see patients with urgent care needs it will also serve as an overflow for the emergency room.

He adds that in a month's time they also have plans to utilize the center as a clinic for other services when the Urgent Care Center is not open. The Urgent Care Center will be open Monday through Friday from 3pm to midnight with the last patients seen at 11pm. 

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