New medical center aims to fill gap in emergency care

Standing in one of his exam rooms, Steven Yucht, CEO and CMO of the newly opened Emergency Physicians Medical Center off SW 76th Street, talks to members of the Reichert House Youth Academy about his establishment and accomplishments.

Tricia Coyne/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 12:12 a.m.

The Emergency Physicians Medical Center opens today in the Tower 24 complex.

The new facility aims to fill a niche in medical care between routine urgent care centers and a hospital emergency department, according to Dr. Steve Yucht, the CEO.

Eight in 10 patients seen in local emergency departments don't need to be admitted to the hospital, Yucht explains. Instead, often after a long wait to be seen, they are treated and released.

Yucht is quite familiar with the workings of an emergency department. Board-certified in emergency medicine, he was the hospital chief of staff and Emergency Department attending physician at Shands AGH until it closed in November.

As with other AGH physicians, staff and employees, the closing meant Yucht had a choice to make. So the choice he made was to go out on his own and attempt to fill what he sees as a gap in emergency care in northwest Gainesville.

"Challenging times require making major decisions," Yucht said. "For me, it was very easy. They do a wonderful job at Shands or North Florida, but hospital medicine is very different from our model.

"Our mission is to provide exceptional quality emergency medical care in an environment of respect, compassion and comfort."

"That sound like any emergency department you know?" he asks.

Emergency medicine physicians such as Yucht receive special training to treat patients with acute illnesses or injuries that require immediate medical attention.

While a hospital emergency department will see patients who arrive by ambulance, Yucht's facility does not. Also, an immediate care center (and Gainesville has a number of these) is staffed by physicians who may or may not have training in emergency medicine.

"I am an ER doctor, and I will practice emergency medicine here just as I did at the hospital," Yucht said. "If you come in with a broken leg or have had low-risk chest pain for a couple of days, it is no problem for me to treat. An immediate care center might be less anxious to deal with that."

Yucht said the medical center, which is not affiliated with either Shands or North Florida Regional Medical Center, will work with either hospital if a patient needs ongoing care.

Yucht, who lives in southwest Gainesville, said he's excited by the new opportunity to see "anything that walks through the door."

"Basically, I now have the opportunity to take care of my neighbors," he said.

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