Premier Care opened its newest walk-in urgent care center in the Stop & Shop plaza off Grand Avenue last week, choosing a heavily-trafficked location a few minutes drive from St. John's, which filed for bankruptcy and closed along with Jamaica's Mary Immaculate Hospital in 2009.
It's the first Queens clinic for Premier Care, a local for-profit chain with locations in Lynbrook, Levittown, Lindenhurst, and a fifth slated to open in Bellmore later this year.
Co-founder Dr. David Kim said he looked for a place near the shuttered hospital.
“We tried to pick a location in the area to pick up some of the [patient] volume” from St. John's, Kim said. “There needs to be a place to go that's not the emergency room.”
Kim billed the Grand Avenue “sub-acute” center as an alternative for patients with immediate medical needs who want to avoid long waits in the ER or to see their regular physicians.
Doctors at the clinic are trained to treat wounds, broken bones, place sutures and handle other medical conditions, though Kim stressed they aren't a replacement for primary care physicians.
“Our hope is that Premier Care be used as an addition to your physician,” he said.
The office boasts ten exam rooms, a lab and high-tech equipment like X-ray machines, as well as a full physical therapy suite that will open later this summer. The spacious waiting room, across from the Stop & Shop parking lot, has several flat screen televisions.
Appointments at the clinic are not required.
It accepts every major insurance plan and Medicare and is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Kim said he hopes to see up to 100 patients a day. Building a local following could take time, however.
After St. John's closed, patients shifted loyalties to other borough hospitals like Elmhurst Hospital and New York Hospital Queens, which saw a temporary jump in emergency room visits.
Kim said multi-hour wait times at hospitals would drive residents to seek alternatives.
“There has been a growing need for quality healthcare in Maspeth,” Kim said. “We wanted to fill that void and offer our services to the community.”