It’s a moment any parent dreads: your kid takes a bad fall on the field on a Saturday and you’re pretty sure his arm is broken. So what do you do next?
Lots of parents would head to the Emergency Room, but that’s just because they don’t realize that OrthoCarolina has seven Orthopedic Urgent Care locations that will more than likely be able to treat their child’s injury much quicker and at a fraction of the cost.
We sat down with Timothy Pysell, PA-C, who oversees OrthoCarolina’s team of Physicians Assistants, to find out more about Orthopedic Urgent Care. Here’s what he told us:
- It’s for acute, non-emergent care for conditions of the musculoskeletal system. That’s a fancy way of saying they deal mostly with simple injuries of the joints, muscles or bones. Examples include: sprained ankle or wrist, sudden pain in a limb, sports injuries, minor dislocations, non-severe fractures, etc.
DON’T come to OUC if you have the following issues (or something similar): a broken bone sticking out of your skin, loss of feeling (or any change in sensation) in a limb below a broken bone, or your injuries are the result of a fall from greater than six feet. If your injury seems serious, Tim says head to the ER.
- It’s generally for after-hours care. Hours vary by location, but they are generally in the 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. range on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the weekends.
- It’s not just for kids, but kids are given priority. Patients are seen at OUC on a first-come, first-serve basis with children given a priority. Tim said parents are often more satisfied with OUC because service is quicker than the ER, they’ll see the same specialists that would’ve come to the ER anyway, and there will be no need to take X-rays again for continuing care with OrthoCarolina.
DON’T bring your kid to OUC if he/she has the following issues (or something similar): a fall from ANY height, a broken bone sticking out of the skin or loss of feeling (or any change in sensation) in a limb below a broken bone. Also if you believe your child has a bone or joint injury and he/she is too young to walk, don’t come to OUC. Call your pediatrician instead. Again, if your child’s injury seems serious, Tim says call an ambulance or head to the ER.
- You don’t have to already be an OrthoCarolina patient to come to OUC.
- OUC can save lots of time and money compared to an ER visit. Tim spent more than 15 years as a Physician’s Assistant in teh ER, so he knows just how overburdened the staff can be in a hospital’s emergency department. You’re likely to wait much longer at an ER than at OUC, and it’s likely the ER staff would call in an OrthoCarolina specialist to look at your injury anyway, Tim says. As for cost savings, Tim says of course the exact numbers will depend on your health insurance plan, but you’re likely to pay up to five times as much for an ER visit, starting with a hefty co-pay.
- OrthoCarolina’s OUC is staffed by orthopedic surgeons and PAs who are board certified and specially trained.
- Want more information? Visit OrthoCarolina’s OUC online.
About our expert
Timothy Pysell began his career as a certified athletic trainer for Davidson College in 1991. After working for Harlem Globetrotters, International as an athletic trainer from 1994-1995, heattended physician assistant school at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta where he completed a Master of Medical Science and physician assistant certification in 1997. From 1997 to 2013, he has practiced emergency medicine at several hospitals in Georgia and Tennessee. From 2004 to 2013, he served as Director of Advanced Practice Clinicians (physician assistants and nurse practitioners) for TEAMHealth. Before joining OrthoCarolina, he was responsible for approximately 500 physician assistants and nurse practitioners in 10 states. In fall of 2013, he joined OrthoCarolina as Director of Physician Assistants and in the fall of 2014, was promoted to Vice President, Value Based Services. In his current role, he oversees physician assistants at OrthoCarolina, the MotorSports Program, and is responsible for all commercial and governmental pay-for-performance and value based programs. Additionally, he shares responsibility for the seven orthopedic urgent care clinics operated by OrthoCarolina.
Since 2003, Mr. Pysell has served as a founding member of Tennessee-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (TN-1 DMAT), a federal organization of the Department of Health and Human Services that provides medical care to victims in federally-declared disasters. Since 2007, has served as the team’s Deputy Commander. He has served in several national disasters since 2004 and internationally in Haiti in 2010.
Mr. Pysell lives with his wife and three children in Rock Hill, SC.