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Aurora Quick Care offers fast, convenient, affordable care

Friday, March 26, 2004

New service provides diagnosis and treatment for common conditions

Milwaukee, Wis., Aurora Health Care announced today that it will introduce a new approach to delivering fast, convenient and affordable diagnostic services and treatment for common family illnesses.

Called Aurora Quick Care, these services will be offered in retail pharmacies, supermarkets and other neighborhood locations, with hours that include evenings and weekends.

“Meaningful improvements in our nation’s health care system will require bold innovations,” said Aurora President G. Edwin Howe. “This is one such effort. Through Quick Care, we will be taking a significant step to increase access to care.”

Staffed by nurse practitioners, the Quick Care sites will provide fast yes-or-no tests for seven common medical conditions: strep, ear infection, sinus infection, pink eye, mononucleosis, urinary tract infection and pregnancy. No appointments will be needed, and patients will have an answer within minutes. Patients requiring a prescription will receive one immediately. The Aurora Quick Care sites also will offer tetanus shots and, during the flu season, influenza and pneumonia vaccinations.

A typical visit to an Aurora Quick Care site is expected to take just 10 to 15 minutes.

The nurse practitioner will assess each patient and advise some patients to see a primary care physician. Patients who do not have a relationship with a physician will receive information about nearby physicians who are accepting new patients.

“We believe that Aurora Quick Care will be an attractive option for many people, including some who otherwise would seek care at a hospital emergency department,” said Sue Ela, R.N., senior clinical vice president of Aurora. “When primary care services are delivered in an emergency department, the cost is many times more than the same care delivered in a primary care setting.”

A flat fee of $30 will be charged for a Quick Care visit. Patients will pay with cash, check or charge card at the time of service.

Most of the Aurora Quick Care sites will be open seven days a week with hours that extend into the evening.

“With Quick Care, we’re recognizing that patients often know what’s wrong with them and simply want to get a quick diagnosis and the care they need,” Ela said. “This is about empowering health care consumers.”

Aurora Quick Care’s nurse practitioners will work under the guidance of the program’s medical director, John Whitcomb, M.D., head of emergency medicine at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee.

“Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have advanced education and training in providing a wide range of primary care services, including diagnosing disease and prescribing medications,” Dr. Whitcomb said. “Quick Care’s nurse practitioners will offer fast solutions to simple problems. Patients with more complex problems who need a higher degree of supervision will be referred to a physician.”

Aurora expects to have six to eight Quick Care sites open by the end of this year. The first of these self-contained kiosks will open within two pharmacies. The locations and opening dates are:

  • Aurora Pharmacy, 17280 W. North Ave., Brookfield, March 29
  • Aurora Pharmacy, 12601 W. Hampton Ave., Butler, April 8

Aurora Quick Care is intended to serve adults who are seeking fast, reliable, inexpensive diagnostic and prescription services for themselves or their children. It focuses on common family illnesses where the diagnoses are clear-cut and the therapies are proven. Quick Care is not intended to substitute for a relationship with a primary care physician.

“One of the best ways to maintain good health is to have a primary care physician who can track and coordinate your care over a long period of time,” Dr. Whitcomb said. “People who use Aurora Quick Care will receive a record of their visit that they can take to their doctor.”

Aurora Quick Care is based on a successful model that was developed in Minneapolis. There, a privately owned company called MinuteClinic has plans to expand beyond the dozen locations it now operates in groceries, department stores and corporate offices.

Aurora Quick Care addresses not only the desire for fast and convenient care, but also the need for new ways to control health care costs. The flat fee to be charged for Quick Care services falls far below the cost of the same care provided in an urgent care center or hospital emergency department. In addition, the extended hours at Aurora Quick Care sites will mean that people will have the option of seeking care before or after work hours instead of missing work time, a benefit for both employers and employees.

“Employers, who pay much of the cost of health care today, are demanding innovative new solutions that address the rising cost of care,” Howe said. “We believe that services like Aurora Quick Care are part of the answer.”

Information about Aurora Quick Care is available at www.Aurora.org/QuickCare or click here.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

Contact: Jeff Squire (414-647-3408)

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