Care ’til 8 Provides Peace of Mind
Isabelle Rodriguez, 10, had been feeling lousy for days. Chills. Headache. And a fever that wouldn’t stop climbing. Her parents alternated aspirin and ibuprofen so her temperature would drop—for a bit. Then it would climb again.
Her father, Luis Rodriguez, a medical assistant for a pediatrician at NorthBay’s Center for Primary Care in Vacaville, knew when her fever hit 103.7 degrees on Day 5, it was officially worrisome.
“We didn’t know what was going on, maybe she had an infection, maybe strep throat,” he recalls. “I work for Dr. Bruce Hewett and I see a lot of patients with these symptoms. We wanted someone to take a look at our daughter and run some tests.”
We would have waited much longer to see a doctor in the emergency room. In Fairfield, we were taken care of the minute we walked in the door.
Luis and his wife, Tara, talked it over and considered their options. The family lives two blocks from a hospital in Napa, but they knew a trip to the emergency room on a Sunday would likely result in a very long wait with a very high price tag.
“That’s true, even with two different insurers covering us,” says Luis.
With Western Health Advantage as his insurer, Luis knew that Isabelle could be seen quickly on a Sunday afternoon under NorthBay Healthcare’s new Care ’til 8 program.
Care ’til 8 launched at the Center for Primary Care facilities in Fairfield and Vaca-ville this past February, providing extended hours from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on weekdays and care from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and most holidays. In the months that followed, more than 6,000 patients have taken advantage of the service, offering rave reviews.
Tara didn’t hesitate. “Let’s take her to the Hilborn facility,” she suggested.
It was a 25-minute car ride but it was worth it, says Luis. “We would have waited much longer to see a doctor in the emergency room. In Fairfield, we were taken care of the minute we walked in the door.”
“My husband called ahead, so they knew we were coming,” recounts Tara. “Still, it was a shock when we walked in and were helped immediately. It was so clean and quiet. We didn’t have to wait at all.”
Nurse Practitioner Christie Martinez understood the couple’s concerns, and did a thorough exam, followed by a quick throat culture. “The parents were very worried because they had done all they knew to do at home with treatments of Tylenol, rest, etc., but the illness had not improved and Isabelle continued to run a high fever,” recalls Christie. “I assured them that I would evaluate her for any signs of infection including a ‘Rapid-Strep’ throat culture and have answers in minutes.”
Seven minutes later, the family had their answer: No strep throat. “It turned out to be a virus,” says Luis. “But the testing was important because we were able to eliminate other potential problems. We could relax and let the bug run its course.”
Today, Isabelle has completely recovered, Luis is happy to report. He’s also happy to share that he received a follow-up call from Christie, something he wasn’t expecting. “She took the time to follow up and see how her patient was doing. I’m very pleased with the service and care that was shown.”
Tara agrees. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I had no idea it was so close, a 25-minute drive. If I need it again, I’ll be back.”
Weekends, Too? You Bet!
NorthBay Center for Primary Care has expanded hours daily and are now open on weekends at two locations, drawing enthusiastic reviews from patients. Called “Care ’til 8,” the program provides care for minor illnesses and injuries Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 2458 Hilborn Road in Fairfield and 421 Nut Tree Road in Vacaville. The programs are open on most holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Appointments can be made by phone and online, but walk-ins are also welcome and most insurance plans are accepted. For more information, go to NorthBay.org/care8.
More than 6,000 people have found Care ’til 8 to be a great option since the service began in February. “We’re just pleased to be able to serve the needs of our communities,” said Aimee Brewer, president of the Ambulatory Division of NorthBay Healthcare Group. “We know people don’t just get sick between 9 and 5. Expanded access and hours allows us to care for them when they need it.”
In addition to handling flu and other such illnesses, the Care ’til 8 crew can also deal with cuts, sprains and casts and splints. “We understand our patients have busy lifestyles,” says Aimee. “We are committed to making sure their access to healthcare is both convenient and timely.”