Ceres now has a place to go for urgent medical needs - and for care when a family doctor just can't set up an appointment fast enough.
While not an emergency room, Modern Urgent Care is available to see persons for abdominal pains, respiratory problems, urinary problems, asthma rashes, fever, cough and colds, ear infections, vomiting, simple foreign body removal occupational medicine, and other medical concerns. Serious cuts can be cared for with the staff being able to perform laceration repairs and be able to care for incision and drainage for infections.
Radiology services for upper and lower extremities and chest x-rays will also be available in weeks at the new facility, which opened Monday in the former CITI Bank digs in the Richland Shopping Center, 2519 E. Whitmore Ave. Ceres Chamber of Commerce officials welcomed the new addition to Ceres during a Friday morning ribbon cutting, which was also attended by representatives of local officials.
A.J. Jhatu, a physician's assistant, decided to open the new facility with six patient rooms in Ceres, which is where he was raised and attended school. About 30 years ago his father opened Whitmore Market. A.J. was determined to finish his education and open his own urgent care to provide services missing from Ceres.
"Thirty years later we came back to the same street and I set up my shop here so I'm back home," said Jhatu. "It's nice to be back."
Jhatu attended Carroll Fowler Elementary, Mae Hensley and Blaker Kinser Junior High and Ceres High School.
Jhatu continues to work at the Doctors Medical Center emergency room in Modesto. He said if a case needing hospital care walks through his door, the staff can just dial up Doctors ER and let the staff there know what case is coming in.
"It makes it a little more streamlined for them," offered Jhatu.
The urgent care will not be equipped to handle persons with chest pains or gunshot wounds. Those should always be referred to 911 for immediate care or taken to a hospital emergency room by private car depending on the emergency.
"A.J. and I have worked in emergency medicine for our whole career and I have been doing it for 13 years so I'm very familiar with what we can handle here and what needs to go," said office manager/nurse practitioner Jennifer Leavens.
Jhatu believes the new urgent care facility will help alleviate pressure on local emergency rooms, which are often jammed by patients who use them as their primary care. Local ER rooms are impacted, he said, because there is a shortage of doctors in the Valley for various reasons. Jhatu said the Bay Area has 200 patients per clinical provider while the Valley has 2,000 per.
"That's where the urgent care really comes in because people don't have time necessarily sometimes. If you have a cold and you want to go to your family doctor it might take a week to be seen," said Jhatu.
Leavens added in some cases some patients are waiting three to six months to see their doctor.
The staff at Modern Urgent Care consists of six per diem medical assistants, two office managers, medical director Dr. Dana Buchanan, who is also a full-time in the Doctors Medical Center emergency room.
"There's always going to be a medical provider who can prescribe and diagnose here and then we have a supervising physician. We're actually in talks to get a second supervising physician so if we have to communicate something or if we have question, we have someone to turn to. It's more of a team approach and I think that's what medicine is all about. Two heads are better than one."
Modern Urgent will also be offering cosmetic services for Botex and derma fillers like Juvederm and Radiesse.
The office is open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and has a website at www.modernurgentcenter.com. The center accepts Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, United Health Care and most major insurances.
"We're accepting all MediCare and Medi-Cal," said Leavens.
The center may be reached at 537-4700.