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Doctors Express partners with Steward Health Care

Date: 6/25/2014

SPRINGFIELD – Doctors Express announced support for a growing trend of health care system partnerships with urgent care facilities. Steward Health Care, the largest fully-integrated community care organization and community hospital network in New England, recently announced a new clinical affiliation with AFC Doctors Express Urgent Care, the largest urgent care provider in New England.

This partnership is the first of its kind in Massachusetts and makes urgent care centers available to Steward patients and more within the next year. Master franchisors, Richard F. P. Crews and James M. Brennan, of the local Doctors Express facilities – located in Springfield and West Springfield – commend the efforts to increase the quality and efficiency of patient care.

Doctors Express has 11 locations in Massachusetts and plans to open 15 more locations in the next two years. Steward now has the largest integrated network of urgent care providers in Massachusetts with 24 affiliated urgent care locations to be opened within the next year. Through this affiliation with Doctors Express, 45 family practice, emergency medicine and internal medicine physicians employed by Doctors Express will join the Steward Health Care Network.

As part of this clinical affiliation, Doctors Express physicians will now have access to Steward’s patient portal to evaluate a patient’s clinical history prior to commencing treatment. Clinical notes from a Doctors Express visit will be communicated back to a patient’s primary care physician or specialist for necessary follow up. Steward patients will remain in-network while visiting a Doctors Express location.

Urgent care includes some services offered by primary care physicians including state-of-the-art treatment for acute illness, trauma (including minor surgical procedures), vaccinations, X-rays, medication dispensing and more. Many patients might not take advantage of these services through primary care practices because of inconvenient hours – but now have access to better care with Doctors Express nonbusiness hours.

“Our Doctors Express urgent care practices are an advocate for better health care throughout our Western Massachusetts community,” said Brennan. “Not only do our physicians treat symptoms, but they also provide preventative care. We have moved urgent care far beyond the boundaries of traditional clinic care – and we look forward to more growth opportunities from franchise development to partnerships with major health care systems.”

“Emergency rooms continue to be overcrowded with patients seeking nonemergency health care,” said Crews. “Partnerships with major health care providers alleviate the burden of crowded emergency rooms, and more importantly, these partnerships increase the quality of care by providing, fast and efficient care during nonbusiness hours.”

Providing convenient health care options improves the overall health of communities and motivated Crews and Brennan to bring Doctors Express – now the third largest urgent care provider in the country – to the greater Springfield region.  Each Doctors Express location offers a full range of urgent care services for patients with common illnesses (such as the flu, strep throat, etc.) cuts, fractures and other non life-threatening injuries. No appointments or referrals are necessary and all major insurance coverage is accepted. The average co-pay is $25 and each location is staffed by licensed board-certified or board-eligible physicians.