The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

'Luxury' Emergency Center Opening Near World Trade Center Next Month

By Julie Shapiro | August 11, 2011 3:34pm

LOWER MANHATTAN — A new urgent care center opening soon near the World Trade Center will feel more like a spa than an emergency room.

Patients at the soon-to-open Medhattan Immediate Medical Care on Liberty Street will don plush robes instead of paper gowns, snack on free apples and granola bars in the waiting room and can supplement their treatment with acupuncture or a massage.

They will also be able to fill prescriptions on site, saving them a stop at the pharmacy on the way home, and will be able to take their X-rays and test results home with them on a flash drive.

"We tried to think of everything," said Dr. Alicia Salzer, co-founder of Medhattan. "We tried to take things above and beyond patients' expectations."

The 3,000-square-foot center, opening by mid-September in the basement of 106 Liberty St., is the brainchild of Dr. Leslie Miller, 47, a West Village resident and former emergency room administrator.

"Here in New York where one can obtain ‘boutique anything’ … there is no viable option for people to obtain immediate medical care, delivered by those at the forefront of their field, in a setting that offers the creature comforts and customer service one might expect of a luxury hotel," Miller said in a statement.

"That’s what we set out to offer at Medhattan."

While the center has been in the works for seven years, the need for it has become even more apparent recently with the closure of St. Vincent's Hospital last year, the skyrocketing residential population of lower Manhattan and the influx of tourists visiting the World Trade Center site, Salzer said.

Medhattan will be open 365 days a year and will be able to handle everything from a child's asthma attack to a construction worker's sliced hand, though those with life-threatening ailments like a heart attack should still go to an emergency room instead.

The planned facility joins a new 3,500-square-foot urgent care center at 200 Chambers Street in providing emergency medical treatment to the rapidly-growing neighborhood.

While New York's hospitals have some of the longest emergency room wait times in the country, Salzer said walk-ins at Medhattan will wait just five to 10 minutes to be seen.

Medhattan's services will also be less expensive than an emergency room, starting at $200 for a basic visit, and most patients will pay less because the center will accept Medicare and many types of insurance, including UnitedHealthcare and BlueCross BlueShield, Salzer said.

Also, unlike an emergency room, there will be no nurses at Medhattan. Instead, patients will spend all of their time in the care of one of 15 doctors with emergency room experience, who will handle each case from start to finish.

"We wanted to eliminate all these middlemen, so you don't have to tell your history over and over and over again," Salzer said.

Medhattan's doctors were handpicked not just for their medical expertise but also for their communication skills and caring demeanor, and their desire to build strong connections with patients, Salzer said. To that end, all patients will leave with their doctor's email address, for easy follow-up.

"We're giving [doctors] the opportunity to have the doctor-patient relationship they wanted when they went into medicine," Salzer said.

Medhattan, at 106 Liberty St., will be open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting in mid-September.