Looking in the mirror last month, Sharon Bezuka could not figure out what was causing her eyes to remain red and puffy for several days.
Bezuka – a perianesthesia operations manager in the PACU, Pre-Op, Day Surgery Unit and Extended Recovery Unit – had no other symptoms suggesting it was conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. Could it be seasonal allergies? An eye injury? After home treatments failed to resolve the issue, Bezuka decided one day at work that it was time to seek medical attention.
She opted to use Occupational Health Services’ (OHS) new Episodic Care Clinic, which provides BWH employees conveniently located care for common illnesses and conditions at OHS’ mid-campus clinic on the ground Pike. The clinic diagnoses and treats upper respiratory infections, sore throats, conjunctivitis, urinary tract infections and back pain.
“My primary care doctor is located close to my home, not on-site at the Brigham. My symptoms also didn’t seem serious enough to warrant going to the Emergency Department. The OHS clinic just made it so convenient for me to see someone right away,” said Bezuka, who was ultimately diagnosed with allergic conjunctivitis, a non-contagious condition that causes eye inflammation due to an allergic reaction.
Staffed by BWH nurse practitioners, the clinic serves staff who have a BWH primary care provider and receive medical insurance through Partners HealthCare. Staff who meet these requirements are not charged a co-pay for their visit. Labs, radiology exams or prescription medications are billed to the employee’s health insurance.
Launched earlier this year in partnership with the Brigham’s Division of Internal Medicine and Primary Care to assist with high-volume points of care, the OHS Episodic Care Clinic provides staff with an opportunity to be evaluated and obtain care at work, said Carin Bennett-Rizzo, MS, ANP-BC, COHN-S, acting director of OHS.
“We want to provide the best care for our employees so they can continue to do the great work that they do,” Bennett-Rizzo said. “We are able to perform point-of-care testing, such as throat cultures and urinalysis, which means that we can give patients a quick answer and provide the appropriate treatment within the guidelines of care.”
While the clinic can accommodate walk-ins, OHS recommends BWHers call ahead to confirm their eligibility and schedule an appointment in advance to minimize wait times.
Bezuka described her experience at the OHS Episodic Care Clinic as pleasant and efficient. Upon arriving at the clinic, she was quickly registered and seen by a nurse practitioner.
“Without a doubt, the biggest benefit of the clinic was the ease and convenience it provides because, as employees, our time is so valuable,” she said.
The OHS Episodic Care Clinic is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and located on the ground Pike (closest to 45 Francis St.). To schedule an appointment, call 617-732-8501.