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New urgent care in downtown Syracuse aims cut unnecessary ER visits

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WRVO News (file photo)
The Syracuse Community Health Center has opened a new urgent care center, the first in downtown Syracuse

A new urgent care center has opened in downtown Syracuse, which could help to ease some of the city’s overcrowded emergency rooms.

The Syracuse Community Health Center is now open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering emergency care to anyone who comes through its doors. CEO Mark Hall said those extended hours can help many people who might be otherwise be forced to go to an emergency room for treatment of minor ailments, like infections, cuts or sprains.

“You have a single mother or father who’s working during the day and have to take time off to take care of their child or their own health needs," said Hall.

The center is planning on adding weekend hours as well in the near future. Hall said it’s also an opportunity to encourage people to get regular medical attention with a primary care physician.

"One of our goals is to help those patients understand and educate them of the importance of regular health visits, so their health doesn’t deteriorate to the point where they’re seeking help at an emergency room," he said.

The center has also joined forces with AMR Ambulance in another initiative to keep people out of the ER who don’t need to be there. Ambulance personnel are evaluating Medicare patients who call 911. If their medical needs can be taken care of at the Community Health Center, they’ll be diverted there instead of the ER. A nursing shortage, combined with rising COVID-19 cases this summer into the fall has jammed up emergency rooms across the area.