By Stephen J. Kotz
Residents of Bridgehampton and the surrounding area have a new option if they need a flu shot or stitches in the finger they accidentally sliced while preparing dinner.
Northwell Health-Go Health Urgent Care, which already runs 44 walk-in clinics in New York City and Long Island, has opened its newest facility in the Bridgehampton Commons shopping center. The partnership has a dozen clinics in Suffolk County, including one in Riverhead and another in Hampton Bays. Although the clinic is a partnership of Northwell Health, which owns Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, it is not affiliated with that company’s hospitals.
“I was thrilled when I heard we were opening in the Bridgehampton Commons,” said Helen LaCorte, who serves as operations manager for Suffolk County. “This is pretty much the heart of the Hamptons.”
The Bridgehampton facility, which was originally supposed to open in September, finally got the green light on Tuesday, December 26, and has seen a slow, but steady stream of patients, Ms. LaCorte said. “A lot of people have stopped in to get our business card,” added physician assistant Nicolle Alvarez of Bridgehampton.
“We do not take the place of your primary care physician, but we are happy to see anyone who can’t get in to see their doctor,” Ms. Alvarez said.
The new clinic is located between American Pie pizzeria and Victoria’s Secret and is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
The clinic takes most insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, Ms. LaCorte said. The basic fee for someone without insurance is $120, with fees charged for additional services such as x-rays.
The clinic has a broad, open reception area, where patients can check in electronically and four state-of-the-art examining rooms arrayed behind the main receptionist’s desk.
“What’s different, is when you come in you’ll notice how open it is,” said Ms. LaCorte. “When a patient walks in, they can make immediate contact with a staff member. They don’t have to wait for them to slide the glass back. We feel it’s a more welcoming experience.”
A portable, low-radiation x-ray unit can be wheeled from one room to another. Although the examining rooms are enclosed in see-through glass, that can be changed almost instantly by flicking a switch on the wall that turn them an opaque white. It’s a feature children tend to like, Ms. LaCorte.
Besides getting shots, including vaccinations, medications or stitches, patients can also get that ankle they sprained playing basketball x-rayed at the clinic, thanks to a portable low-radiation x-ray unit that can be wheeled from room to room.
According to Rachel Blanche, one of the medical assistants working at the new facility, walk-in clinics tend to see a lot of patients who think they might have the flu, a hard-to-shake chest cold, urinary infections or other common ailments. “In the summer, we get the people who come in say, ‘I was working in my garden and I just cut my finger,” she said. “And tick bites. Lots of tick bites.”
While walk-in clinics can handle a wide variety of situations, they are not intended to handle life-threatening situations, Ms. Alvarez said. “If someone thinks they are having a heart attack and comes in, we’ll, of course, try to stabilize them” before calling an ambulance, she said, adding that it best for people who think they might be having a major medical emergency, such a stroke or heart attack, to stay put and call an ambulance to their home. “If you feel as if you are in a life-threatening situation, you shouldn’t be getting in your car and trying to drive,” added Ms. LaCorte.
The walk-in clinic is one of several now open on the East End. It joins Sag Harbor Medical Walk In, Wainscott Walk-In Medical Care, and Southampton and East Hampton Urgent Medical Care facilities.