Your child isn’t feeling well. Unfortunately, you aren’t able to make it to your regular pediatrician during their office hours. Emergency rooms are available, but emergency room-level care isn’t really necessary. Where should you turn next?
This parental problem found a solution in the Rio Grande Valley in 2009, with the arrival of Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen. Conveniently located at Driscoll Children’s Medical Plaza at 1120 E. Ridge Road, it began filling the necessary role of an after-hours, non-emergency clinic for children.
The current clinic hours are from 6-11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1-11 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, with 19 pediatricians on rotation.
Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen is the only pediatric Quick Care of its kind in the entire Rio Grande Valley, said Laura Cortez, Clinic Director. “Other pediatric after-hours clinics may be owned by a specific physician group or are not pediatric-specific as we are,” she said.
Riaz A. Shareef, MD, Medical Director of Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen, ensures that his staff do everything possible to maintain the health and well-being of children.
“Our highly-trained physicians and skilled clinical staff offer a child-friendly environment which helps children relax, so they can receive proper and personalized healthcare in a very non-intimidating manner compared to an emergency room,” said Dr. Shareef. He added that the Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen is committed to providing instant access to the same quality, personalized care expected from a child’s primary care physician.
Starting and establishing Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen
The desire for a pediatric after-hours clinic was clear when the clinic opened. Cortez said that it didn’t take long for patients to arrive, due in part to referrals from local physicians and word of mouth.
“This Quick Care is important because we support all the health plans by keeping the child out of the Emergency Room when emergency services are not needed,” said Cortez. “We also have a very good relationship with our referring physicians, sending them an emailed letter describing exactly what their patient was diagnosed with and what treatment they received.”
In the ten years that have followed the clinic’s opening, Cortez notes that its environment has adapted more and more of a child-friendly theme. It has grown from six exam rooms to nine, and in the past year several items were added to the waiting room to help keep children busy while they wait. “We also updated our technology this year with new point of care testing equipment, and moved to laptops with the ability to scan barcodes — patient armbands — and print labels for any lab work,” said Cortez.
Roel Cantu, MD, who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, enjoys being able to provide care to children whose culture he perfectly understands. He said he truly believes in treating patients and their parents with respect, compassion and understanding, which is The Driscoll Way.
Another board certified pediatrician who cares for patients in the evenings at Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen is Linette Linsangan, MD. “The Rio Grande Valley has an eclectic culture,” said Dr. Linsangan. “Preventive care is paramount with such a young population.”
Dr. Shareef estimates the staff sees anywhere from 800 to 1,400 patients per month, depending on the time of year, and more than 15,000 patients each year.
“All physicians working at Quick Care are local pediatricians who have lots of experience taking care of children,” said Dr. Shareef. “Quick Care offers an alternative to the emergency room or adult quick care centers for families seeking care during the evening and weekends. We have contributed greatly to the decrease in emergency room visits for children with non-emergency needs.”
Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen offers up many services
The staff take care of ailments that often affect children: fever, upper respiratory infections, minor injuries, minor fractures, cuts that require sutures or glue, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, asthma exacerbation.
“We take care of various kinds of infections, minor cuts and fractures. We also give antibiotic injections and provide breathing treatments,” said Dr. Shareef.
“We are supported by a full-scale laboratory and radiology services, which avoids the need for patients to go to another facility to get labs and X-rays done. We also have the ability to schedule CT scans and ultrasound studies the following morning if needed.”
Clinic Director Cortez explained that all X-rays are read by board certified pediatric radiologists. In addition, Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen has point of care testing for Flu A&B, Strep and RSV, and all patients are seen by a pediatrician specialist.
The present and the future of Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen
Anniversaries often lead to reflecting on the past. Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen is entering its 10th year of service. Has it made a difference in the Rio Grande Valley during that time? Dr. Cantu answered yes. “I believe Driscoll Quick Care-McAllen has made a difference in the Rio Grande Valley for many families that prefer to see a pediatrician in the evening for urgent care rather than a general physician in the emergency room. Many pediatric offices are closed in the evening and let their patients know that Driscoll Quick Care-McAllen is open and available for them to go to and will be seen by a pediatrician.”
When asked what it has meant to be a part of Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen, Dr. Cantu said, “It is a great feeling to be part of an institution like Driscoll that has helped many Valleyites and that has been a part of our Valley for many years.”
Looking ahead to the future of Driscoll Children’s Quick Care-McAllen, Cortez noted there would be some facility changes to make the patient experience even more comfortable. One thing, though, will not be changing. “McAllen Quick Care will continue to treat all patients and families with respect, compassion and understanding, as we always have,” said Cortez.