It’s been almost a month since MIT Medical began closing its walk-in Urgent Care Service at 11 p.m. each night, and, says Medical Director William M. Kettyle, M.D., the transition has gone smoothly.
Since Dec. 22, 2010, Urgent Care has been open for walk-in visits from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, with medical advice and assistance available by phone 24 hours a day. MIT Medical has been using the overnight phone service since last fall, Kettyle explains. “In a sense,” he notes, “we ran both systems in parallel for several months, so when the actual transition occurred, we were prepared for every contingency.”
During the month of December, Kettyle reports, 31 patients called for overnight help by phone, with some receiving next-day in-person follow-up at MIT Medical. That one-call-per-night average is roughly equivalent to the daily average for late-night walk-in visits in recent years, says Kettyle, and thus far the new system has served patients well. “Making sure our patients get the care they need has always been our standard,” he emphasizes, “and that hasn’t changed.”
If you need help during the overnight hours when MIT Medical’s Urgent Care walk-in service is closed:
- For non-emergency medical problems: Call 617-253-4481, and a professional triage nurse will speak with you and provide advice on what to do next. For example, the nurse may recommend things you can do at home to feel better, advise a next-day appointment, or tell you to go to a nearby hospital immediately. If the phone-triage nurse has questions or concerns about how best to manage the problem, MIT Medical Primary Care and Pediatrics clinicians will be on call, and the nurse can contact these clinicians for consultation if necessary.
- For mental health services: Nothing has changed. As always, anyone with an urgent mental health concern should call 617-253-4481, and a clinician from MIT Medical’s Mental Health and Counseling Service will be paged to call you right back. As in the past, clinicians will meet with students on campus after hours when clinically appropriate.
- For medical emergencies: Go directly to a hospital emergency room. “If you think you have a medical emergency, call an ambulance by dialing 100 from a campus phone or 253-1212 from a cell phone if you’re on campus. Or dial 911 if you’re off campus,” says Kettyle. “This is the advice we’ve always given.”
More detailed information is available in an updated FAQ on the MIT Medical website.
“For our patients, the bottom line is that MIT Medical is here for you 24 hours a day,” Kettyle says. “That will not change.”