By Tara Kyle
MANHATTAN — An urgent care center opened in Chelsea Tuesday, seeking to help provide some of the services lost when St. Vincent's Hospital shuttered last spring.
The new facility, operated by the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Group, shares space at 121A W. 20th Street with a primary care facility run by nonprofit VillageCare.
Doctors and nurses at the urgent care center can attend to patients on a walk-in basis throughout the year, during evenings and overnight on weekdays and Saturdays, as well as 24-hours a day on Sundays. Those hours are intended to supplement VillageCare's daytime hours Monday through Saturday.
Resources at the urgent care center include six exam rooms, an electrocardiogram, digital X-ray, and an on-site laboratory.
While the medical facilities are equipped to treat patients with ailments such as bronchitis, flu, food poisoning, allergic reactions, pneumonia and minor traumas, those with life-threatening injuries or diseases are transferred to a hospital emergency department.
"The goal of the urgent care center is to provide local residents of all ages with top-notch urgent care services in the most expeditious way, and in many cases, avoiding a trip for patients across town to a hospital emergency room," the center's medical director, Dr. Benjamin Greenblatt, said in a press release.
Greenblatt also hopes that the partnership with VillageCare will provide "continuity of care" for patients who have long term needs after their visit to the urgent care facility.
Many neighborhood activists in Greenwich Village and Chelsea have repeatedly stated that their community needed nothing less than another full-service medical facility on the scale of St. Vincent's.
Last month, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer gave his support to that idea at a packed community meeting.