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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Christina O’Connor

Award For Pearl City Urgent Care’s Help

Pearl City Urgent Care, which marks its first anniversary this week, was honored Feb. 4 by the City Council for its contribution to the community at a special awards ceremony.

The clinic’s CEO Donna Schmidt, who founded the service in order to provide an alternative to emergency room care, also was recognized at the ceremony.

In presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to Schmidt, Councilman Breene Harimoto stated: On behalf of the people of the City and County of Honolulu, the Council hereby congratulates Pearl City Urgent Care on its first anniversary, expresses its gratitude for bringing much-needed medical services to Pearl City, and welcomes the facility as a full-fledged member of the Pearl City community.”

“I was so excited,” Schmidt said about receiving the certificate. “I just felt really blessed, and very, very appreciative for the recognition. We really did what we could to … serve the community.”

Before opening the urgent care center in November of 2011, she worked for a medical case management agency. During her time there, she noticed that patients she worked with often were told to go to an emergency room for non-emergency cases. The result was the over-use – and overcrowding – of emergency rooms.

“On nights and weekends, when they needed a doctor, oftentimes … they were using the emergency room in a way that was unnecessary,” she said. “We didn’t have a place where folks could go other than the emergency room.

“If we can keep the appropriate number of people in the emergency room … there will be more room for the people who need to be there,” Schmidt said.

Pearl City Urgent Care is a full-service urgent care center, offering X-rays, drug screening and lab testing. Since opening its doors, it already has expanded in response to the high volume of patients, adding two new treatment rooms, extending its weekend hours, and launching an occupational medicine program. In the future, Pearl City Urgent Care hopes to launch a medical card systems for college students.

To celebrate a successful first year, it will host “I Love, Love, Love Pearl City Urgent Care” from noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 20 through 23. The event will feature blood pressure screenings, prize raffles, refreshments and tours of the facility.

Reflecting on the first year, Schmidt said, “I think things have gone extremely well.”

Schmidt had hoped to be serving 30 patients a day by the end of the first year. But the center grew quickly – in part because of the closure of HMC West that occurred around the time of the center’s opening – and reached that benchmark after just a couple of months.

Currently, her staff treats about 50 patients daily, and is anticipating further growth.

“Our capacity with the new rooms is about 80 to 85 patients a day,” Schmidt said. “And we expect that by this time next year, we will be seeing that many patients.”

Pearl City Urgent Care wants the community to be aware of when they should go to an urgent care center, and when they should seek help from an emergency room.

Schmidt provided a brief rundown: Go to the emergency room if you are experiencing any signs of a heart attack (including chest pains or shortness of breath); any signs of a stroke (including sudden numbness in your limbs, confusion or difficulty speaking); or profuse bleeding. Come to Pearl City Urgent Care if you are experiencing vomiting, migraine, allergy, asthma, allergic reactions, broken bones, burns, coughs, colds, rashes, sore throats and sports injuries.

Schmidt also recommends residents call their primary care physician first for non-life-threatening conditions.

Pearl City Urgent Care is located at 1245 Kuala St. in Pearl City. No appointments are necessary. Call 456-2273 or visit pearlcityurgentcare.com.

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