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Health // Doctor in the House
Rasa Fournier

Care In Between Your PCP & ER

Dr. Robert Ruggieri
Owner and founder of Island Urgent Care

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

I received my B.S. in mechanical engineering from University of Rhode Island and went on to receive my M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. During my time at Stanford, I took a wind-surfing lesson and was hooked. I subsequently took a job as an aeronautical engineer with Pratt & Whitney on the East Coast and later took a temporary assignment to their Florida office. I continued to windsurf and enjoy the ocean in Florida and then decided to move to Hawaii, sight unseen.

I bought a one-way ticket, went windsurfing at Diamond Head nearly every day and after a month decided I needed to find a job. I found work in ocean engineering at Makai Pier in Waimanalo. For the next four-and-a-half years I windsurfed, went diving, mountain biking and explored Hawaii.

I then decided to apply to UH medical school, where I met my wife, Joan Kagawa, who went on to specialize in child psychiatry. After graduating from UH John A. Burns School of Medicine, we reluctantly moved to Massachusetts to complete our residency training.

What made you decide to open your first Urgent Care facility?

First chance possible after completing our training, we decided to move back to Hawaii. I worked at Queen’s ER for seven years before starting Kahala Urgent Care in 2006. It started from a desire to continue to provide the medical care I was trained to provide at Queen’s ER, but in a more approachable community setting. This year we opened the second clinic in Hawaii Kai and renamed our clinics as Island Urgent Care to reflect the expansion.

My wife currently works in adult and child psychiatry at Kaiser and we have two beautiful daughters. I continue to enjoy Hawaii for all it has to offer and I still kite surf, mountain bike, surf, participate in triathlons and I also love to cook.

How long have you been in practice as a physician?

Twenty-two years.

Does your new Hawaii Kai Urgent Care clinic offer the same services as your Kahala clinic?

Yes. We are proud of the fact that we have board-certified ER doctors on duty at all times at both sites, and X-ray, EKG and rapid lab tests on site for prompt evaluation of most conditions.

What services does Island Urgent Care offer?

We cover the gap between the primary physician and the ER. People always should have a primary care physician to provide preventative medical care and maintenance of health, and to provide care for other ailments when appropriate and available.

Island Urgent Care provides care when there is a change in one’s health condition because of illness or injury, and either your PCP is unavailable – over-booked, after hours or weekends and holidays – or unable to provide the services needed, such as X-ray, stitches, splinting, etc.

Island Urgent Care is staffed by board-certified, experienced ER physicians at all times, so one can expect the same or greater level of competency provided at major ERs around the state and country.

What conditions does Urgent Care treat?

People should go to their PCP for preventative health care – for checkups – and monitoring of chronic health issues like diabetes or hypertension and other minor ailments.

One should go to the ER or call 911 if they are suffering symptoms of a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening diseases or injuries.

Island Urgent Care is appropriate for treatment of just about everything in between. We can treat most problems ranging from colds and flu to allergic reactions, asthma, lacerations, sprains and fractures, boils and abscesses, bladder infections, dehydration, gout, pinkeye, rashes, ear infections, animal bites, foreign-body removal, work- and auto-related injuries, to name but a few. In addition, we perform work and school/sports physicals and also provide travel counseling and immunizations.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Island Urgent Care provides seven-day-a-week access to health care services to the general public who otherwise might not be able to see a doctor with walk-in convenience. We also provide quality medical services for a wide variety of medical conditions at substantially lower cost than that of going to the ER, without having to wait four hours or more in the ER.

The purpose and need for urgent care services is provided in further detail in these two websites: ucaoa.org/docs/UrgentCareMediaKit_2013.pdf; ucaoa.org/docs/WhitePaperTheCaseforUrgentCare.pdf.

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