The addition of the STAT Health urgent care facility on Route 58 in Riverhead continues the trend of medical centers opening in Riverhead.
“Riverhead is absolutely becoming the medical hub of the East End, so I’m not surprised that there are three urgent care centers basically within two miles of each other on Route 58,” president and CEO of Peconic Bay Medical Center Andy Mitchell said.
There are currently six urgent care centers in the Town of Riverhead, three of them popping up this past year. Northwell Health/GoHealth opened on Route 58 near Walmart in June and ProHEALTH opened a center down the road from there in May.
“We’ve had our eye on Riverhead for a while,” said John Steel, STAT Health Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve found in markets when there’s more than one urgent care center, it often creates more interest and more demand.”
STAT Health has 12 locations on Long Island, including one in Cutchogue and one in Rocky Point. Mr. Steel said it was unlikely that Riverhead residents would travel to either location, so he felt having one in Riverhead was necessary to fill an important gap.
Mr. Steel said that the demand for health care is following a “want it now” trend, so it makes sense more urgent care centers are opening in the same area.
“A lot of our patients are in the 25-55 range and they’re used to on-demand shopping for a lot of things,” Mr. Steel said. “A doctor’s office typically can’t take you right away and the emergency room is not always necessary, and we fit the gap.”
Riverhead STAT Health is offering free flu shots throughout the season, while supplies last, to help kickstart the business and as a way to thank the community for welcoming them, according to Dr. Steel.
“I think it’s definitely going to help the community,” said Jessica Markert, manager of Riverhead STAT Health. “It is going to help primary care doctors, [and is] definitely not taking away from them.”
Urgent care facilities are said to be a middle ground between the emergency room and primary care doctors.
“In some ways they’re very complementary [to emergency rooms,]” Mr. Mitchell said. “We find a lot of patients get sent from the urgent care facility to the hospital.”
He added that the increase in urgent care centers near Peconic Bay Medical Center has not affected emergency room traffic. The volume continues to increase every year, and is expected to increase even more when the new cath lab opens in about three weeks. Northwell’s urgent care center in Manorville sees about 35,000 patients a year, similar to PBMC’s emergency room.
“The other thing that I’ve learned is that when a Home Depot opens, a Lowe’s opens across the street,” Mr. Mitchell added. “I’m not surprised at all to see multiple urgent care centers opening.”
Riverhead STAT Health accepts patients from 8 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. on weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on weekends. Patients can check in online before arriving and view wait times for all STAT Health facilities.
“We want a unique experience for everyone, focused on the importance of their time, getting them in and out quickly and getting them healthy,” Mr. Steel said.
Riverhead STAT Health had a soft opening Sept. 19 and an open house the following weekend.
“What’s very clear, and I think it does begin with Northwell Peconic Bay Medical Center, the Riverhead area is absolutely becoming the central medical hub of the entire East End,” Mr. Mitchell said.
Photo: STAT Health opened last Tuesday in Riverhead. It is the third urgent care facility to open on Route 58 this year. (Credit: Rachel Siford)