ONEONTA _ Oneonta will have a new urgent care facility starting Saturday.
Bassett Healthcare has expanded Oneonta Speciality Services on Associate Drive to offer non-emergency, walk-in health care.
Urgent care facilities are designed to treat those with injuries or illnesses that are not serious enough for emergency room treatment.
A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital pioneered urgent care in Oneonta with the opening in 2002 of FoxNow in the Hannaford Plaza.
But unlike FoxNow, the Bassett Healthcare-Oneonta Urgent Care will offer radiology and laboratory services, hospital officials said.
"In responding to our patients' requests, it became clear that an urgent care center where radiology and laboratory services are available on site was something people in the community desired," said Dr. August Leinhart, Bassett's chief of emergency service, in a media release.
"There isn't another center in Oneonta,'' he continued, ``where people can go for urgent, but not emergency, health care and get x-ray and lab testing on-site, rather than having to travel to an emergency department."
Medical attention will be given at Oneonta Urgent Care for minor lacerations, sprains and possible fractures, coughs, colds, asthma, sore throats, rashes, fevers, earaches and other non-emergency ailments.
FoxNow treats a similar range of health problems, said Fox spokeswoman Maggie Barnes.
The Bassett facility will have a digital radiology system that allows urgent care providers to
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consult with specialists at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown.
The specialists and urgent care providers will be able to view the same images in real time and coordinate on the care for each patient, Bassett officials said.
Although FoxNow does not offer x-rays and laboratory testing on-site, it may explore the idea.
"That's something we would like to look into for the future," Barnes said.
Studies have shown that more than 50 percent of cases that go to emergency departments each year could appropriately be cared for in an urgent-care setting, according to Bassett officials.
When FoxNow opened, the Fox Hospital emergency department saw a drop in wait times in the ER, Barnes said.
In its first year, FoxNow treated nearly 8,000 patients.
"FoxNow has a very loyal following and it's in a great location," Barnes said, when asked about concerns that Bassett might make inroads into Fox's share of the urgent care business.
Bassett Healthcare-Oneonta Urgent Care is off River Street. Its hours will be from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekends.
FoxNow is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
No appointments are necessary at either facility.