By Ling-Mei Wong
By the end of this month, Malden residents will have a new health care option just three blocks from the Malden T stop on the Orange Line.
Doctors Express, an urgent care facility, is slated to open at 219 Centre Street on March 21. It will operate seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. No appointments are needed.
While the Massachusetts Bay has multiple health centers in Boston and Quincy, Malden has relatively fewer facilities, forcing residents to go farther for medical services. “What we do in urgent care is bridge the gap between a primary care office and an emergency room,” said Scott Sheridan, Malden native and co-owner of Doctors Express Malden. “If you are having a life-threatening emergency, then you need to go to the emergency room. If it’s something acute — you need to be seen quickly — however if it’s not life-threatening, urgent care can be a great alternative. For a primary care physician, it can be hard to get an appointment the same day.”
The new center boasts X-ray machines, on-site test laboratories and six treatment rooms to diagnose patients quickly. There are currently nine Doctors Express Centers in the state of Massachusetts; combined, the centers have treated almost 100,000 patients a year, with an average visit completed in less than 50 minutes, according to Sheridan.
The Malden facility will also work to reflect the many cultures and languages of its community. “Something we considered before going into Malden is its very diverse community,” Sheridan said. “We’d like to hire a staff that reflects the diversity in our city.”
The staff includes Spanish and Cambodian speakers, with an active push to recruit Chinese speakers. An interpretation partnership allows patients to communicate in up to 180 languages by phone.
“What we were told was that some people get on a bus every week to Chinatown for appointments,” Sheridan said. “We want to let the Chinese community know that we are there for them if they need us.”
The center accepts most forms of insurance and two self-pay options of $149 and $239. A self-pay visit of $149 covers a physician visit, X-ray and lab tests, which would likely cost more than an emergency room visit.
“We’re typically a fifth of the cost of emergency rooms,” Sheridan said. “Our average patient pays $135, while the emergency room may cost the patient several hundred dollars — and they’re waiting. We think emergency rooms are an essential part of the health care system, but if we can alleviate some of their stress to take non-life threatening illnesses and injuries, that frees them up to concentrate on the true emergencies.”
This post is also available in: Chinese