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By Eric Heinz
San Clemente will get a third urgent care facility, scheduled to open in mid-July.
Greg Moreno, MD, owner of MedHero Urgent Care, said he will have highly trained doctors on his staff who will run the advanced urgent care facility.
“What you’re getting here is a physician-owned urgent care facility,” Moreno said. “If you look in the community right now, families and patients were complaining that they had to go outside of town to get (urgent care) taken care of.”
MedHero has three physicians on staff currently, but Moreno said he will hire more in the near future. At least one emergency physician will be on site at all times of operation, he said.
The urgent care facility will offer full X-ray capabilities as well as lab testing and pharmaceutical needs.
MedHero will house six patient rooms including IV hydration stations, procedure rooms, and spaces for telemedicine (part of the urgent care app that Moreno developed) and follow-up testing.
The center is solely for outpatient care and is contracted with major insurance companies and Medicare, Moreno said.
The urgent care center is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week.
If someone has an emergency or needs urgent care, the hospitals in Laguna Beach and Mission Viejo will still be the places people need to go.
Moreno worked in the emergency rooms for 10 years. Using the information that he got from his customers on the medical app, he said it was easy for him to see what people in the area need.
“The number of patients who are requiring hospitalization is fewer and the number of days they’re staying in the hospital are fewer,” Moreno said. “Most of what we take care of now is on an outpatient basis, except for the more life-threatening things that need hospitalization. We’re not trying to replace those hospitals.”
Susan Cole, director of marketing and communications at Mission Hospital, said the hospitals have seen increases of inpatients and outpatients since the closure of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in San Clemente.
“We were planning an increase, so we accommodated for that,” Cole said, adding that although it’s hard to say definitively how long wait times are, it’s not impossible for people to have to wait hours to see a physician.
“It also depends on what they come in for and how they get triaged,” she said.
Numbers of increases between outpatient services and inpatient services at the hospital also were not available.
Moreno said it was never his intention to open an advanced urgent care facility, but once he saw the need for one after the hospital closed, he made the commitment to open one. The MedHero app that was launched in October lets patients submit questions remotely to physicians without having to go to the hospital or emergency room.
“What we found for those patients who needed to be seen in person, there wasn’t a place that could take care of them on a regular consistent basis; there wasn’t a place with emergency physicians available with the hours we operate,” Moreno said.
Two other urgent care facilities in San Clemente are Hybrid MD Urgent Care at 1031 Avenida Pico-Suite No. 103, and South County Urgent Care, located at 1300 Avenida Vista Hermosa.
MedHero is located at 905 Calle Amanecer-Suite 115. For more information, visit www.medherosc.com.