Gregory Gafni-Pappas, D.O., is the associate medical director of the Emergency Department and project lead for the new Urgent Care located inside the ER at Chelsea Hospital. He recently spoke with The Stockbridge Community News to help explain this innovative new care model and how it is delivering better, smarter care to local communities. He also spoke about how the hospital is helping local Stockbridge residents in getting to and from important medical appointments.
Q: Since the opening of the Urgent Care inside Chelsea Hospital’s Emergency Department back in February 2022, how has the delivery of health care improved for local residents?
Dr. Gafni-Pappas: The intent of having the Urgent Care inside the Emergency Department was to provide a one-stop shop for our patients. When a patient arrives, our medical team immediately evaluates their needs. If they require emergency attention, they will go to the Emergency Department. If not, they will be treated within our Urgent Care inside the ER. So the question most people have of whether they should go to an Urgent Care or a hospital Emergency Department is no longer a consideration. Our patients should have confidence knowing they will receive the appropriate level of care when they come to Chelsea Hospital, regardless of what ails them.
Q: What are patients treated for at the Urgent Care? And what about the Emergency Department?
Dr. Gafni-Pappas: At the Urgent Care, patients are commonly treated for conditions such as cold or flu-like symptoms, minor lacerations, and sprains or minor broken bones. If a patient is dealing with something more serious, our medical staff will likely move them seamlessly to the Emergency Department. Our patients don’t need to get in the car to drive elsewhere, since the Urgent Care and the Emergency Department are at the same entrance within the same facility.
Q: What happens if a patient, who is being treated at the Urgent Care, sees their medical status get worse? Do they get rushed to the Emergency Department or stay at the Urgent Care?
Dr. Gafni-Pappas: That patient would be upgraded to the Emergency Department. And since the Urgent Care is located conveniently inside the Emergency Department, that transition would be quick and seamless. It truly provides our patients peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens, we have the resources and experts available to care for them.
Another thing I’d like to highlight is the billing situation. If patients are initially treated at the Urgent Care but then require an upgrade to the Emergency Department, they will only be charged for their trip to the Emergency Department, unlike going to a separate urgent care where a transfer to an ER would result in two separate bills, plus the inconvenience of a transfer.
Q: What is Chelsea Hospital doing to support members of the community who don’t have reliable transportation to get to and from the hospital for care?
Dr. Gafni-Pappas: Beginning in the summer of 2020, Chelsea Hospital partnered with the Western-Washtenaw Area Value Express (WAVE) service to provide free public transportation to people in both Stockbridge and Manchester. We have a van that seats up to 12 people, and it even has a wheelchair lift for disabled members of the community. Transportation is a struggle for some of our patients, specifically in the Stockbridge community, and it’s a significant barrier for them to receive timely care. This free door-to-door service is available five days a week between 8 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. within a 3-mile radius of the village centers, plus added stops at parks. You can arrange for a ride with WAVE by calling 734-475-9494.
Q: Can patients schedule an appointment for the Urgent Care?
Dr. Gafni-Pappas: Just like the Emergency Department, our Urgent Care is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and only accepts walk-ins. But rest assured, whether you are treated at the Emergency Department or in the Urgent Care, we will make sure you get the proper treatment and the highest quality health care at Chelsea Hospital.
Chelsea Hospital is located at 775 South Main St. in Chelsea.