When Dr. Zeyad Baker, the president and chief executive officer of the Lake Success-based ProHEALTH Care, began working as a pediatrician, he quickly noticed one thing: kids may be different shapes and sizes, but they “never, ever get sick during office hours.”
“I figured that’s unfortunate and often what’s worse is they stumble into an emergency room,” Baker said in an interview on Friday, “which can be a very dangerous experience.”
It was this experience that helped spark a decision to open an extended hours center at their Lake Success headquarters at 1 Dakota Drive, operating from 5 p.m. to midnight during the week and 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends to better serve ProHEALTH care patients.
Among the available services are treating routine medical issues like colds, coughs, fever, flu, strep and sore throat, migraines, ear aches and infections, as well as urgent ones like allergic reactions, cuts, fractures, sprains, strains, and bites.
They also offer vaccines, flu shots, Tdap shots, blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, IV treatments and EKG – or electrocardiogram – for the heart.
In its first week, Baker said, the facility was seeing 25 patients per day after hours – which is “ahead of what we anticipated.” Now he’s projecting that more than 50 patients could come in during the week and around 100 on weekends.
Asked if he feels this says something about Long Island, Baker said it’s not something unique just to here.
“I think it says more about the state of health care across the country, frankly,” Baker said.
“The old model of expecting patients to fit in an office visit when it’s convenient for others but not for them needs to change,” Baker said separately in a press release. “Patients want more accessible healthcare at a time that works with their busy lives – which is why we created the first Extended Hours Center in New York available from a major health system.”
The first such ProHEALTH center began in New Jersey, Baker said, and it was “a smashing success.” Four months ago, the company decided to bring it into New York.
While Urgent Care centers provide an important service, Baker said this center guarantees care for patients in the company’s network and that insurance will cover the visit. Additionally, Baker said, doctors would also have easy access to past medical records and visits.
“I think it’s very important. The number one reason American citizens experience bankruptcies… is surprise healthcare bills,” Baker said. “And the problem with that is people don’t know its too late.”