February 26, 2001
Grady's Urgent Care
By Alicia Sands Lurry
Doctors who work in the Urgent Care Center (UCC) at Grady Hospital see thousands of patients every year, and for many of those patients, UCC is their primary care provider.
This is because many of the patients the doctors see are indigent and
The [UCC] is where we frequently see the working poor who cannot
afford health insurance, said Charles Harper, assistant professor
of medicine and UCC director.
In a collaborative effort with physicians from both Emory and Morehouse
schools of medicine and the Grady staff, UCC serves as a front door to
the Grady Health Care System.
Many visit the center with acute health care problems such as back pain
and headache; some come for treatment of chronic illnesses such as hypertension
and diabetes. Still others come for preventative care that includes vaccinations
and pap smears. Most of the patients are between 18 and 50 years old.
Were talking about the cooks from various fast food restaurants
and people who clean hotels and office buildings, Harper said. Were
providing much needed services for a segment of the community that is
In fact, Harper said a visit to the UCC is not much different than going
to a traditional clinic or doctors office. After walking into Gradys
triage center and being screened by a nurse, those patients who do not
require emergency medical attention are given appointments in the UCC.
Doctors then see patients either at or reasonably close to the exact appointment
The greatest advantage to the UCC, Harper said, is that all patient care
is provided directly or supervised by an Emory or Morehouse physician.
The patients here are getting excellent care from well-trained,
world-class, dedicated physicians, Harper said. [They] always
get contact with an Emory physician.
Another important part of the UCC health care team is the physician assistants,
nurses and Grady staff. Two of the physician assistants have special training
in orthopedics, while another has gynecological training.
Two full-time social workers are also on staff to troubleshoot for domestic
violence, HIV infection and other social and health issues.
Additional advantages to the UCC are onsite availability of many diagnostic
services (such as CT scan) often not available at traditional doctors
offices and convenient hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday,
and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Doctors also are able to direct patients to specific clinics if patients have medical problems that require a specialist.