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Treatment Center Ready for Urgent Care

07/19/06
The USC facility’s doctors are given full access to patients’ medical histories, enabling them to supply stronger service.
By Usha Sutliff
Physicians Sharon Canet and Marius Tijunelis are among the staff members of the USC Evaluation and Treatment Center.

Photo/Jon Nalick
Patients who need urgent medical care as late as 10 p.m. can find the services they require at the USC Evaluation and Treatment Center.

The center, located at 1520 San Pablo St. in Los Angeles, enables patients of USC doctors to stay in the university’s health system to receive urgent, non-emergency care.

“If I can provide a patient with a more rapid, more personal experience than the emergency department, then I’m benefiting both of us,” said Sean Henderson, the center’s medical director.

“I’m keeping the patient in the system and away from the prolonged wait that is typical in the emergency department,” he said.

The center’s physicians are granted full access to patients’ medical histories a rarity that helps them provide better care.

“One of the largest barriers to effective care is a lack of previous records,” said Henderson, an associate professor of emergency medicine and preventive medicine and vice chair of the department of emergency medicine in the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

The physicians at the center are board-certified in emergency medicine and are faculty members of the Keck School. When a patient is treated at the center, the referring USC doctor is informed a courtesy not normally extended when a patient is treated by another doctor.

The center’s nurses also are trained in emergency medicine and advanced cardiac life support.

The most commonly referred medical conditions include: broken bones of the hands, feet, legs or arms; infections; lacerations, or cuts; neurological complaints such as migraines and active seizures; suspected heart attacks or strokes; suspected blood clots; biopsy recoveries and respiratory distress, or shortness of breath.

Patients eligible for treatment at the center must be over the age of 15 and not pregnant. The center also accepts patients who may need to be admitted after-hours to USC University Hospital or USC/Norris Cancer Hospital.

“The really unique piece is that I receive a phone call from the physician before the patient arrives,” Henderson said. “I’m alerted to what they need before arrival.”

Patients who want to see a doctor at the center must be referred by their primary or on-call USC physician. The center does not accept patients who walk in without a referral or who are brought in by an emergency vehicle.

“We are staffed and supplied to take care of very acute illness but our limitation is that we do not receive 9-1-1 ambulances,” he said.

The center is affiliated with USC Athletics, the USC Student Health Center and the Excellence in Athletics Program established by USC University Hospital, and will accept patients from those programs.

To be referred to the USC Evaluation and Treatment Center, the patient contacts his or her USC doctor or on-call physician by calling 1-800-USC-CARE or by phoning the doctor’s office. Then:

The patient describes the medical condition requiring urgent attention.
Using 1-800-USC-CARE, the primary care doctor consults with the center’s physicians to determine the best course of action.
If the patient is referred to the center for treatment, the center doctors report back to the referring physician regarding the patient’s status and any treatment provided.

The USC Evaluation and Treatment Center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

For more information, call 1-800-USC-CARE or e-mail usc-etc@usc.edu.