YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Minor Ailments to Get Attention at Huntington Clinic


PASADENA — On bad days, when paramedics rush into Huntington Memorial Hospital with one accident victim after another, the emergency room gets backed up for three to four hours.

The people with stomachaches, sore throats and finger sprains have to wait.

On Monday, the hospital will open a clinic to handle less-serious ailments and injuries so that patients will not have to wait as long or pay as much as they would in the emergency room.

"The idea came from a lot of frustration of how could we reduce gridlock in E. R.," said Betty Briggs, the hospital's administrative director of ambulatory services.

Briggs said she did not know of any area hospitals with similar clinics. Huntington is the largest hospital in the San Gabriel Valley.

The service is called a primary care clinic, not because it does the work of a family practitioner or a general physician but because it is a first stop for people before they see a doctor or get medication, Briggs said. The clinic is aimed at patients with non-emergency medical complaints who do not have primary care physicians or who cannot get appointments with their doctors.

The clinic, staffed by nurse practitioners, will charge a $45 flat fee for the visit. By comparison, in the emergency room, fees range from $85 to $188, not counting additional charges that can accrue.

Clinic users will have to pay extra for medicine, but probably will not need other services, such as X-rays, which require additional fees, Briggs said.

The services offered at Huntington's clinic are roughly comparable to those available at area urgent care clinics, where patients are usually evaluated by physicians.

Fees for Fair Oaks Urgent Care Medical Group in Pasadena range from $18 to $120; the ErgentCare Center in Arcadia has a $49 basic fee, and Pomona Urgent Care Center fees range from $60 to $125.

Huntington's 15-bed clinic is expected to see about 15 patients each day at first and up to 50 by the end of the year, Briggs said. The 23-bed emergency room serves about 145 patients daily.

The clinic will be open every day from noon to 12:30 a.m.

Los Angeles Times Articles