Visitors to the new PM Pediatrics office in Bayside will be greeted by a vibrant illustration of rushing streams, exotic flowers, prowling and grazing wildlife and a 10 foot tall model giraffe next to the tiki-hut style front desk. Obviously, this is not your average emergency room.
After spending years working as the director of pediatric emergency medicine at New York Hospital Queens, Jeffery Schor, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAP, would often speak to his closest friend and former college roommate, Steven Katz about some of his frustrations with running his department.
“Most of the kids that go to emergency rooms are not really true emergencies per se. They just don’t have any other places to go,” said Schor. “Either their pediatrician is closed or there is an issue that a pediatrician cannot handle such as a broken bone or stitches. So, the emergency rooms become overcrowded, waits are long and no matter what, it’s a stressful environment.”
With so much hustle and bustle that comes along with the modern emergency room, children’s fears and anxieties are often compounded through their innate intimidating nature, explained Schor. This led both Schor and Katz – who received his Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business – to a moment of clarity.
“There was this ‘a-ha’ moment where we both said, ‘I wonder if we could open our own emergency room,’” said Schor.
“We almost half laughed but then thought, maybe we can,” added Katz.
Katz, who has three children, would often take them right to Schor’s home when a health issue presented itself. Apparently, he was not the only one.
“All of his friends and neighbors and their kids, if anything happened to them his phone was ringing off the hook,” said Katz. “Jeff was my PM Pediatrics before PM Pediatrics opened.
We wanted to find a way to take that personal attention and put it in a comfortable setting.”
Thus was born PM Pediatrics, the preeminent provider of after-hours pediatric urgent care in New York which operates in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and their new office in the Bay Terrace Shopping Center. The practice is a walk-in site open to the public 365 days a year from 5 p.m. until 12 a.m. on weekdays and 12 p.m. until 12 a.m. on weekends. Each of the locations in Syosset, Mamaroneck, Selden and now Bayside have a different theme aimed at making the medical experience as pleasant as possible.
“We wanted to create an environment that was welcoming . . . something that will set the tone for being relaxed,” said Schor. “My experience in the emergency department setting is that we often would have had to give medication or something else to help keep a child calm and pain free. In this environment, they are much more relaxed. We are doing a lot of the same procedures without having to give them the heavy duty medications to keep patients still or comfortable.”
The jungle theme at Bayside is exhibited in the lobby, each of the examination rooms and the x-ray room while gracefully painted murals of elephants and lions are strewn throughout the office. Each of the examination rooms also contain a flat screen television. Since opening the new office on March 11, the reaction from the community has been strong.
“Our first location we opened [in Syosset], we saw 40 people in the first month. This year, we will see over 30,000 in that location,” said Schor. “Here in Bayside, we saw four times the amount of people we saw our first month in Syosset. From that perspective, we are very pleased.”
PM Pediatrics prides itself on providing treatment for newborns through 21 years of age for a broad array of illnesses and injuries including asthma, fever, dehydration, sprains, fractures and wounds requiring stitches in addition to providing access to specialists such as plastic surgeons or orthopedists if needed. The full-service staff on-site is comprised of team leaders from emergency backgrounds, new residents immersed in PM Pediatrics’ training program and physicians that believe in what PM Pediatrics is accomplishing day-by-day.
“It’s a great group. An energetic group. We have people that are friendly, warm and vigorous because it can get to be pretty busy. We need people to keep everyone’s spirits up,” said Schor.
The partnership between Schor and Katz works to reduce the normal stresses that can come with running an urgent pediatric care facility. On the business end, PM Pediatrics Management Group – established in 2003 – oversees all non-clinical aspects of the company’s practices and is handled by Katz. This allows Schor and his team of physicians to concentrate solely on performing medical tasks instead of worrying about business semantics.
“Most physician groups don’t have that luxury,” said Schor. “They may be great doctors but they may not understand how to operate a business or the service aspect of it. We complement each other because we understand different things and we work together to make those things happen.”
Even after six years since opening their first practice, the joy of changing the way healthcare is brought to children is still prevalent with both founders. Although there are active plans to open a future location, there is no rush – all things in due time.
“The thrill of having something that was written on a piece of paper come to life and actually get built is very satisfying,” said Katz. “Just to see the impact we have in such a short period of time is what is fulfilling and gratifying to me. People come in and are thrilled that we exist. We are an alternative that they didn’t have before.”
“It might sound a little bombastic but I think we are going to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered,” added Schor. “I think we are trying to be mindful of cost but still, at the same time, maximize service. I think it really benefits everybody.
To learn more about the services that PM Pediatrics can provide, visit www.pmpediatrics.com or call their new Bayside location at 718-747-KIDS (5437).