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Reliant Medical Group to Open Temporary Observation Unit to Care for Non-COVID-19 Patients

Unit Expected to Help Relieve Pressure on Local Emergency Departments

April 9, 2020 – Reliant Medical Group is opening a temporary observation unit to reduce pressure on overcrowded Emergency Departments and to mitigate risk for patients not suspected of having Covid-19 who require a higher level of care. The unit is located at Reliant’s ReadyMED Plus urgent care facility on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester. Reliant’s medical staff will care for adult patients for 12-36 hour stays at this facility.

Patients appropriate for this level of care will have conditions such as cellulitis, abdominal pain, kidney stones, urinary tract complaints, or need for hydration, antibiotic therapy, or anaphylaxis management.

To start, the unit will have the capacity to provide observation-level care for 9 patients, but is designed to expand to accommodate more patients as needed. Referrals to the unit will be accepted from Reliant providers and other area providers, including those referring from an emergency room.  Ambulatory services will continue to be available at ReadyMED Plus.

Reliant briefed officials at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the City of Worcester about its plans for ReadyMED Plus, and both indicated their support for this expanded scope of services during the pandemic.

“These are unprecedented times and all of us in healthcare need to work together, adapt and innovate to serve the needs of our patients and our communities,” says Tarek Elsawy, MD, president & CEO of Reliant.  “We have the medical expertise to care for patients with certain acute conditions, so it made sense for us to convert our ReadyMED Plus facility to provide a higher-level of care. Our Emergency Departments are challenged to care for the increasing number of patients with serious respiratory illness, and Reliant is prepared to help relieve some of the pressure our hospital partners are facing.”

“Once the prevalence models began to anticipate a spike in Massachusetts in the number of people with COVID-19 illness, we quickly mobilized to rapidly stand up an observation unit,” says Leon Josephs, MD, chief of specialty care at Reliant. “In less than two weeks, our incredible team of healthcare and administrative professionals have procured the necessary equipment, secured a food service partner, and developed a 24/7 staffing capacity within the Reliant workforce.”