As emergency-room physicians at some of New York City’s top hospitals, Rye Brook resident Dr. Jason Lupow and his colleagues noticed urgent-care clinics popping up all over the city and saw an opportunity: Together, they could offer patients access to emergency treatment while saving them a costly and time-consuming trip to the ER.
That’s what led to the 2013 opening of MDxpress, an urgent-care practice with clinics in Mamaroneck and White Plains, staffed by ER doctors who are available days, nights, and weekends to diagnose and treat an array of emergency and non-emergency conditions, from cuts and scrapes to sore throats and broken bones.
All five MDxpress partners—Drs. Babak Toosi, Alan Teigman, Nelson Tieng, Nishant Shah, and Lupow—work part-time at the clinics and full-time as ER doctors at hospitals in the Bronx, with Tieng at Bronx Lebanon and the rest at Montefiore Medical Center. All but one (Shah) live in Westchester.
“We live in an on-demand society, and time is valuable,” says Lupow of the need for clinics like MDxpress. “People want to see the doctor when the need arises, and they don’t want to wait to make an appointment. Sometimes people who don’t necessarily need the ER for treatment go anyway because their regular doctor either can’t squeeze them in or doesn’t feel comfortable doing things like stitches or setting a broken bone. At MDxpress, all of us are ER doctors, and that’s what we do every day at our regular day jobs.”
Lupow says while an ER visit can mean hours of waiting to see a doctor and a high insurance deductible, at MDxpress the average co-pay is around $20, and most patients are in and out in 20 minutes. For those without insurance, fees depend upon services rendered.
In addition to emergency treatment, MDxpress offers laboratory services, vaccinations, X-rays, and occupational services, including annual physicals.
According to Lupow, a national shortage of general practitioner physicians has left other medical professionals to provide primary care at many doctor’s offices and other urgent care clinics, but “what sets us apart at MDxpress is that when you’re coming to see us, you’re only going to see an ER doctor—not a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. And although they are great, we find a lot of our patients would rather see a physician who has the training to treat emergency conditions.”
MDxpress has been growing every year; the company opened its first location, in Mamaroneck, in March 2013 and its second, in White Plains, in December 2014, with plans for new service offerings, including urgent dental care, nutrition, physical therapy, and a possible third clinic on the horizon. Volume at the two locations typically ranges from 50 to 60 patients per day.
“Volume is up at both centers, but the biggest issue is staffing,” says Lupow. “There’s a finite pool of ER doctors available, and we have already recruited a number of our colleagues to work with us. We don’t want to grow so quickly that we’re forced to hire physician assistants to see patients, like a lot of the other urgent-care clinics out there do.”