About one-third of U.S. physicians spend between 17 and 24 minutes with their patients, and approximately 25% spend 12 minutes or less. Many healthcare centers and providers are weighed down with paperwork and other administrative tasks, and patients take the loss. Emediate Cure, the accessible and approachable urgent care franchise, does things differently.
To the Emediate Cure co-founders, April Kubinski and Amy Vertin, quality healthcare requires kind interactions, thorough examinations and involvement with community members beyond the doors of the urgent care center.
“We’ve been providing the same quality healthcare as long as Amy and I have been in practice,” explained Kubinski.
“We provide meals for homeless shelters, for example, and give to multiple organizations in the community,” said Vertin. “I think it just makes us unique. Not only were we here since day one for the community, delivering quality healthcare, but we believe it’s important for us to give back to them in other ways as well.”
COVID-19 Impacts Access to Care
Amidst the most hectic waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare offices were closed to the public, converted to COVID-only spaces, or hesitant to see patients whose conditions were deemed less urgent.
Simultaneously, pop-up testing and care sites were set up, and those who had been exposed to or were infected with COVID-19 were pushed through the sites for the sake of testing and prescriptions of quarantine.
“Pop-up sites aren’t always as thorough as they need to be,” Kubinski said. “They won’t always check to see if you have pneumonia sitting in your chest or if you have a secondary bacterial infection going on with your COVID. Most pop-up locations don’t evaluate patients; they just swab them to find out if you’re positive or negative and send you on your way.”
Kubinski went on to explain that this standard of care had become so widely accepted that new patients at Emediate Cure were wary when their providers conducted a standard examination.
“There were patients in the beginning that we had to re-educate as to why we were assessing them. They were upset that we were listening to their lungs!” she said. “There was a dangerous respiratory virus out there, and there were sites that were letting patients drive through without collecting vitals or anything.”
Because Vertin and Kubinski had both spent years working in emergency rooms, they had been trained for the worst and did not see a reason to back down from the pandemic.
Emediate Cure’s Response and Support
“When the pandemic hit, our thought process didn’t change,” Kubinski said. “We understood the level of fear that existed with this novel virus, and that included some of our staff. We gave all staff the option to stay and see patients or to take a leave of absence, but we never considered shutting our doors or reducing our hours.”
Kubinski and Vertin became very well acclimated to the unknown during their time in emergency room environments, and this was no different. Patients need care, and Emediate Cure ensured they were available to the community when it was most needed.
One of the most important things that Vertin and Kubinski stressed to their staff and kept top of mind in their own work was that many people had fallen into a sort of COVID-19 tunnel vision, and it was not productive.
“Everyone got this idea that nothing else existed but COVID. ‘If I don’t have COVID then there’s nothing wrong with me,’” Vertin explained. “You have these very sick, sometimes even elderly, patients seeking care, and the immediate inclination is that it’s got to be COVID. Now, someone has missed a heart attack, a blood clot or a UTI that could turn septic.”
While centering the high standard of care that they have always provided, Emediate Cure did work to provide COVID-19 resources to their community in a way that aligned with their expectations.
For example, the providers took a vital sign machine and COVID-19 tests to a local fire station to assess 80 first responders. “If they’re really sick, we can send them into urgent care, but we can at least do this basic piece of the assessment at the firehouse,” Vertin said. Providing those evaluations in a streamlined way simplified the process for first responders and allowed them to focus on continuing to serve the community.
Evaluating patients carefully, considering family medical history and identifying any potential risk factors allowed Emediate Cure providers to be strategic about how and where patients were being treated.
“I wouldn’t say we did a pop-up, but we did our version of it. We still stood by our principles and maintained the emphasis on the things that are important to the assessment of a patient,” Vertin explained. “Can the patient walk from their car to our building? That in and of itself is an assessment.”
Bringing Support and Connection Beyond the Front Doors
While Vertin and Kubinski are passionate about quality healthcare within their urgent care centers, they recognize the power of community engagement as well.
“We’re totally involved with the community,” Kubinski said. “We do concerts in the park, movies in the park, cruise nights and participate in the parades. So during COVID, we were heartbroken to not be able to engage with everyone in person.”
Reaching out into the community facilitates stronger bonds between patients and their providers as well. The duo explained that children will run up saying, “Oh my gosh! You’re my doctor!”, or other patients will come up saying, “You took care of me,” or “You did my sports physical!”
“It’s very rewarding for us to get out there and do fun handouts and outreach. We tell our staff to get involved because you feel good when you’re at these events and people come up to talk to you,” Kubinski added. “Working in healthcare is tough, and every day can be a challenge. So when you get to get out in your community and talk and have a good time, it’s refreshing. It reminds you that you really are making a huge difference in the community, and you feel that every time a patient comes up to you.”
As the brand continues to grow throughout the country, it works to prioritize partnering with business owners who understand the importance of and are committed to cultivating a very family-business type environment. Working to stay away from overly-mechanical processes and responses and focusing on each individual’s unique needs allows providers to build strong relationships and a solid reputation.
“It’s just the littlest things that you don’t think of, but when we hear feedback while we’re out and about, we know we’re doing something right,” Vertin said. “It’s almost like that validation of, even if Tuesday was horrible, Thursday has been great because we know that we’re on the right path and doing right by our community.
The estimated initial investment to purchase an Emediate Cure Quick Care franchise ranges from $370,000 to $581,800, including a $35,000 franchise fee. For more information, visit https://www.emediatecure.com/.
About Emediate Cure:
Emediate Cure is a community-based urgent care center providing affordable and accessible healthcare options. Since 2015, Emediate Cure has offered a more personal alternative to corporate-owned practices with its two clinics in the Joliet and Shorewood suburbs of Chicago. By focusing on community and family (both locations are locally and family-owned), Emediate Cure has become a go-to healthcare resource for patients experiencing non-life-threatening illnesses in the area.