letters | patients’ choices for urgent care

Pediatricians are on call, too

THE ARTICLE “Urgent care centers in Mass. fill a gap” (Health & Wellness, Feb. 17) addresses an important issue. When a child has an acute health problem, parents want and deserve prompt access to good care. And no one wants to go to the local emergency department for a nonemergency.

The choice between the emergency department and a freestanding clinic, as posed in the article, leaves out the best option for common childhood injuries or respiratory complaints. Whenever possible, children should see their primary-care physician. The physician knows the family and has access to the child’s records. Nearly all pediatric practices maintain urgent care access on weekends and holidays.

Coordinated care, in the context of a medical home where physicians know children and their families, increases the quality and safety of care. The last thing we need is increased fragmentation in the care of children.

Dr. Gregory N. Hagan



The writer is interim chief of pediatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance.