When two former emergency room doctors decided to start up a walk-in clinic, they were looking for a change from the hustle of the hospital setting.
“We realized we could have a kinder, gentler, nicer way to take care of patients,” said Urgent Care Manhattan co-founder Dr. Mark Melrose.
Urgent Care Manhattan has been open nearly a year in its corner storefront on Amsterdam Avenue and 69th Street. Adults and children come in for everything from sore throat complaints to broken bones. The clinic takes both walk-ins and appointments.
Their clinic is one of several dozen urgent-care clinics around the city, where prices, and pricing models, range. (ClearHealthCosts has compiled a database for patients looking for urgent care). The city has seen a spike in such care centers, in part because of lower commercial real estate prices. Melrose believes the number will continue to grow.
Along with orange walls, leather couches and flat screen TVs, Melrose and his partner, Dr. Neal Shipley, decorated the clinic with pictures of famous “doctors,” including Doogie Howser and George Clooney’s Dr. Doug Ross. Melrose is doctor of osteopathy and Shipley is an M.D.; both are certified in emergency medicine by the American College of Emergency Physicians, a professional group.
Melrose and Shipley, along with their support staff of a nurse and several aides, use the clinic’s six exam rooms, including a large one equipped for stitching up cuts, draining abscesses and treating mild burns. They don’t do CT scans or MRI’s, but are equipped for X-rays. They do rapid lab tests as well—they can test and bill for strep, or HIV, for example, in house. Other tests they send out to a lab, which can get tests back within four hours or so. The lab bills separately, but if the patient is uninsured “the lab will work with us,” Shipley said, to negotiate a discount.
An initial visit costs $150. From there you pay a-la-carte.
Lab tests they do on site cost $20 to $25.
A simple laceration runs about $150.
X-rays range from $90 to $150.
The full cost of a typical visit, the owners said, runs about $175.
When it opened in November 2010, Urgent Care Manhattan was purely fee-for-service. While they still have a sign that reads, “Payment in full is expected at the completion of your visit,” things have changed a bit.
Over the last several months, the owners have been in talks with insurance companies. Cigna has already signed on, and its customers can now count Urgent Care Manhattan visits among their benefits. Soon others covered by big insurance companies—Aetna, UnitedHealth, Oxford, GHI—may be able to as well.
And Melrose said he hopes to expand soon. Soon enough, residents from Park Slope to the co-ops of Midtown East may have a bright orange urgent care near them.
Urgent Care Manhattan
199 Amsterdam Ave. at 69th Street
New York, NY 10023
Monday—Friday 8am to 8pm
Weekends 10 am to 6pm
Call on holidays