It's called a clinic, but the new Children and Youth Ambulatory Service at Georgetwon University Hospital is really a combination of hospital emergency room and private physician's office.
Open Monday through Friday 8:30 to noon, the service cares for patients ranging fron newborn infants through young adults up to 21.
"The main difference (between CYAS and other pediatric clinics) is its private practice model," said clinic director Dr. Robert Shearin. "People can see the same doctor every time they come in."
Shearin believes that in this age when emergency rooms are, in many cases, supplanting the private physician and charging up to $50 a visit, CYAS can provide an alternative - at least for patients under 21 years old. The service charges a basic $14 fee, and eventually will stay open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
"What we are trying to do is get across the idea that this is a privatepractice atmosphere for patients in a university setting," Shearin said. "Individuals will be treated in a proper way, and they'll be taken care of in a proper way, and we're also trying to complement the practice pediatrics on the outside," Shearin said. "We have the same charting system, phone system, appointments and testing procedures" that young physicians will have to establish when they set up their practices.
"The private practice model, an attempt to get away fron the clinic setting," is the main faeature that differentiates CYAS fron other clinic services for children and adolescents, Shearin said. "We're trying to point out that people can see same doctor every timne they come in, if they want to." Patients may also make appointments ahead, and "they can see a boardcertified pediatrician" rather than an inern, he said.
Becuase fo medicine's increasing realization oif the special physical and psychological needs of adolescents, patients between 12 and 21 years of age are kept separat fron younger children at the clinic, a departure fron the practice common at many other clinics.
CYAS even has separate waiting rooms for adolescents and younger children, and the two age groups are examined indifferentareas of the clinic.
In addition to staff pediatricians, the clinic has specialists available for referral on the same floor in the hospital.
A patient with a neurological, heart, endocrine, kidney, nutritional or other problem requiring a specialist can simply be referred down the hall, rather than having to go to another building, or across town. CYAS, in fact, has certain days set aside for specialty clinics, when those patients needing to see a particular speicalist can plan on doing so.
"One of the things that's really nice," said Shearin, "is to have this continuity of care," with the specialists and generalists all practicing together and consulting freely.
Since its opening Jan. 1, the clinic has logged more than 5,000 patient visits.
"Eventually," said Sherin, "we hope 75 per cent of our patients use us as their private physician.