Montage Health: Accessing medical care for urgent issues
Previously published in Health Matters Magazine
Whether you are suffering from a bee sting, common cold, poison oak, fractured wrist, asthma attack, chest pains, head trauma, or symptoms suggesting stroke, Montage Health is there for you—ready, willing, and able to help.
The key to receiving quick and appropriate treatment lies in understanding which of Montage Health’s urgent-care venues is equipped to provide the care you need.
When a patient is willing and able to wait for medical intervention, they can and should make an appointment with their primary physician. When the situation seems more urgent, a patient can access medical care via an eVisit, MoGo Urgent Care, or the Emergency Department at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
For ailments that are not life-threatening, the eVisit program offers a diagnosis, treatment plan and, if needed, a medical referral or prescription, all within the comfort of home. Patients complete an online questionnaire to determine whether the issue is appropriate for an eVisit, and within 10 minutes to an hour, they’ll receive a response from a Montage Medical Group or United Concierge Medicine doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.
Perhaps you spent the day hiking amid the untamed beauty of Big Sur and came home with what looks and feels like the start of a poison oak-induced rash. Even before the itchy red patch begins to weep, you upload a snapshot of your inflamed skin from your smartphone, respond to some relevant questions and, within minutes, receive treatment advice and confirmation that a prescription has been sent to your local pharmacy.
The eVisit is an extremely convenient way for patients to access information and advice from home.
— Dr. Mark Carvalho
“Patients call doctors for advice all the time,” says Dr. Mark Carvalho, the CEO of Montage Medical Group. “While we can’t set a broken bone during an eVisit, there are many simple things we can do to address low-acuity situations, such as a respiratory infection, bug bite, or rash, through a review of presenting symptoms.” Because eVisits offer portal-based access to care, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, patients can call in at 2 a.m., and access care without getting out of bed. If a patient is not feeling better or has not recovered from their health issue, the physician may recommend an in-person visit with a clinician, who will have access to all eVisit notes and prescribed therapies.
At the end of May, the program introduced a live chat function, through which patients can speak directly with a care provider in real time. “A straightforward conduit to care.” says Dr. Carvalho.
MoGo Urgent Care
With increasing urgency for patients who want or feel the need for an in-person medical visit, MoGo Urgent Care offers the next level of treatment. The name, which stands for Montage on the Go, is an urgent-care facility dedicated to addressing patients with a nonlife-threatening, episodic incident, or illness that warrants immediate medical attention.
Picture it. The three MoGo facilities, located in Carmel, Monterey, and Marina, are quiet, clean, and welcoming. Even though the wait is brief, it’s nice to know the waiting area is artful, attractive and clean, with comfortable seating and coffee or tea.
We want patients, while in the waiting room, to feel as comfortable as possible.
— Chris Stegge, chief operating officer of MoGo Urgent Care
“We opened MoGo to be able to provide more services, during longer, more convenient hours, and to do so differently, with a more compassionate approach to care than the traditional urgent-care model.” At MoGo, he says, staff can perform a physical assessment, run labs, take X-rays, dispense certain medications, and administer splints and stitches.
The ultimate level of urgent and emergency care is the Emergency Department, located at Community Hospital, where staff is prepared to address life-threatening medical emergencies. This may include symptoms of stroke or heart attack, respiratory distress, severe allergic reactions, severe injury, or acute psychological trauma. And, to create a welcoming environment, the Emergency department was recently remodeled to better care for patients in a clean and safe place.
“A fair number of people who come into the ED don’t have a primary care physician, or couldn’t get in to see theirs in time,” says Emergency department director and registered nurse Susan Burnell. “When a patient arrives, we work hard to rule out life-threatening issues.” The patient’s care is overseen by board-certified emergency medicine physicians with access to a myriad of clinical experts and technology.
For patients experiencing unusual and severe discomfort—the worst headache ever, bleeding, severe abdominal or back pain, and patients who have a history of a significant disease such as cancer, diabetes, or cardiac disease—the Emergency Department, says Burnell, is the place to come. “I take pride in my Emergency Department and what we do.”