RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - 11-year-old Lahela Kanekoa is at ROC Express for a follow-up visit. She twisted her knee on the playground. It was painful and swollen. She says she likes the treatment she gets at ROC, and can compare it to a previous visit to the emergency room.
“The emergency room, they are a little scary. But here, I don't know, I feel comfortable,” says Kanekoa.
Three years ago such an option would not have been available locally.
But with Reno Orthopaedic Clinic, or ROC Express, patients with bone or joint injuries can go to the clinic, and get a consultation, x-ray or even casting if needed at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room visit.
“Saves the insurers, the community millions of dollars. The E.R. physicians are very well trained at saving your life. If you don't need to have your life saved, this could be a good option for you,” says Bruce Gallio, a physician assistant with ROC Express.
The clinic sees about 15,000 patient visits a year.
A recent study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma shows wait times, emergency room visits and cost to patients were more than cut in half when compared to an E.R. While orthopedic visits to the E.R. decreased, the study says the volume of patients at the emergency room stayed the same.
But there is one drawback. Unlike an emergency room, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this clinic is only open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..
The question is: who should use the urgent care clinic?
“If you can get by with the pain with the over-the-counter stuff, if the skin is not open, there is not a fracture sticking out, something like that, often you can get by until we are open,” says Gallio.
Most insurance companies pick up the cost of treatment.