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By Katheleen Conti Globe Staff
October 16, 2015 – When Gina McDonough’s 15-year-old daughter woke up on a Monday with a sinus infection, she figured she might as well pull her other daughter, whose arm was tender from a puck hit during a hockey game, out of school to get them both treated at the same time.
But her first choice was not their pediatrician’s office, where they would have to wait to be squeezed in, nor the emergency room, where the wait time would be too unpredictable.
“Retail minute clinics are run by what we call physicians extenders, such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants,” Carvelli-Sheehan said. “We do advanced urgent care — lab services with blood results on site and urinalysis, CT scans, general radiology, and ultrasound . . . with board-certified emergency department physicians.” Unlike primary care offices, the urgent care facilities remain open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends.
Instead, McDonough took Nicole and her little sister Ciara, 13, to Health Express in Weymouth, a walk-in urgent care clinic just five minutes from their Hingham home. She estimates she’s been to this clinic or its Pembroke location at least 10 times.
“It’s almost getting to the point that the only reason I go see my traditional physician is for the annual physical,” McDonough said as she waited for Ciara to have her arm X-rayed.
Urgent care centers have quickly become the first choice for many Greater Boston residents, attracted to the convenient locations, evening and weekend hours, and affordability compared with emergency room costs. The demand for care in cases that are not medical emergencies, yet are serious enough that they should be attended to quickly or outside regular office hours, has led to a recent wave of free-standing urgent care facilities opening up throughout the region.