WATERTOWN — North Country Orthopaedic Group announced this week that it will offer a walk-in clinic for urgent orthopedic injuries, no appointment or referral needed.
The clinic’s staff will treat a variety of injuries ranging from sprains and dislocations to contusions and fractures. Walk-in hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday at the office, located at 1571 Washington St., Suite 201. The clinic’s first day of operations was Wednesday.
The clinic will be staffed by a team that includes an orthopaedic surgeon, physician assistant, X-ray technician and nursing assistant. The team has the capability to perform radiographic evaluation of all injuries and provide immediate casting and splinting services when needed.
“We’re wound down with our elective stuff, so we thought it was time to step up to the plate and help people avoid going to the Emergency Room,” said Bruce L. Baird, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. “It seems to us that it’s kind of a win-win-win because it benefits hospitals and hospital providers and lightens their load, it’s better for patients because they don’t have to sit there and wait to be seen, and it’s better for us to be able to provide the care.”
The goal of the injury clinic is to provide patients an alternative to hospital emergency rooms that are being called upon to deal with the growing COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dr. Baird, the office had been thinking of doing an urgent-care clinic for years, but the current pandemic was the catalyst to finally open one to the community.
In addition to its walk-in clinic, the orthopaedic group continues to remain open to new and established patients for scheduled office visits and offers telemedicine visits for patients wanting to access their providers from home.
“We were thinking about providers being called into the ER and patients that might have to sit in the waiting room with people who may have respiratory illness wondering if they’re going to be exposed,” Dr. Baird said. “In light of this disaster going on, people will still have these orthopedic problems that won’t go away and we can offer alternatives for patients that are hopefully safer than having to visit the ER.”
North Country Orthopaedic Group specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, and nerves. Its clinical staff includes specialists in orthopaedic surgery, sports medicine and rehabilitation and provides more than 60,000 outpatient visits each year for problems ranging from sports injuries and broken bones, to back pain and foot and ankle injuries.
“I think it’s really important for us to be prepared in terms of what may be coming down the road in terms of being able to access the healthcare system,” Dr. Baird said. “We only have a few cases right now but they’re saying hospitals could be flooded, so our goal is to be ready for that shift where we can prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed and continue to provide services safely.”
For more information on the injury clinic and other services provided by North Country Orthopaedic Group, call (315) 782-1650 or visit its website at www.ncortho.com.