METHUEN, MA – A New Doctors Express Urgent Care Center opened at 380R Merrimack Street in Methuen last month, drawing local movers and shakers in the Valley, from state representatives and city councilors, to the mayor of another community as well as Governor Charlie Baker’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash. (PHOTO GALLERY)
After the public and politicians toured the facility, Medical Director, Dr. Nelson Matos thanked everyone for coming, saying that this was the future of medical care.
“I am very excited that we are actually here because that means we are finally in business. We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” he said.
“Many of you know me from the community; I’ve worked in this community for 20 years. I’ve worked in private practice. I’ve worked in emergency medicine. About a year ago, I had the honor of joining Tom and Lisa [Williams], and partner with them to work at the North Andover site of Doctors Express.”
“This is an urgent care center, and urgent care medicine is the most exciting thing happening in medicine these days, for many reasons. It provides quick access for patients who are not experiencing life threatening emergencies. We, at Doctors Express have a great team of board-certified physicians who are always ready to take care of patients. We are open seven days a week, which is very convenient. We also network with local community physicians to help provide care for their patients after hours, as well as on weekends.”
“We take care of a variety of patients with all kinds of different problems and issues. The only situations that we will not be comfortable addressing would be life-threatening conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. Otherwise, lacerations, orthopedic injuries, colds, flu, abdominal pain, back pain, for all of those things, we are here, and we are ready to take care of you.”
“We maintain the highest standards of quality, even though we have one rule that we try to stick to, which is: to get the patient in and out within an hour. We have done extremely well in North Andover over the last several months. We have really kept that one hour timeframe with a few minor exceptions.”
“Some people wonder, ‘if you’re seeing patients that fast are you really providing the quality of care?’ Yes, we are.”
“We run a very efficient operation, and we have a great team that works really well together to make sure that patients can get in, and get out, within an hour.”
“Urgent care is really exciting also, because it provides an alternative to the emergency room care. Emergency rooms should really take care of very sick patients. Most patients today are waiting several hours in the emergency room, but, you can come here and be seen and treated very quickly. You don’t have to wait three to four hours. I’m honored and privileged to be in this position. I look forward to this partnership. I look forward to growing this place and becoming part of the Methuen community. I’m sure everyone here will be as receptive to us as North Andover has been. I will make sure as medical director that we maintain the highest levels of care and we will take care of you, and your family, and what you need.”
REGULATIONS UNDER REVIEW
Governor Baker’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash was on hand posing for selfies with the staff, and touring the facility. When The Valley Patriot told him of the over burdening state regulations that delayed the opening of Doctors Express, Ash said that by March of next year, the Baker administration will be revealing the results of reviewing all 2,250 state regulations in the commonwealth.
“By March, we will have a new plan out. Under the finance secretary we are reviewing every regulation … I said every regulation …. in the commonwealth. That’s all 2,250 regulations that govern business and other things in Massachusetts,” he said.
“We are reviewing each one of them, and we are reviewing with the idea of, how can we streamline things, how can we make things quicker, better, but still maintain the same quality of life that we want in the commonwealth. Every agency is reviewing every regulation and you could see as many as 25% to 50% of the regulations with meaningful changes as a result of the review.”
Asked if all of those changes needed to go through the legislative process, Ash said that some will, but some will not.
“Some of the regulations will be legislative, some will be administrative. We can’t guarantee legislative action, but on the ones that are administrative we can certainly do those.”
REMEMBERING JOE PAPPALARDO
State Representative Linda Dean Campbell said Doctors Express is a welcome addition to Merrimack Street and lamented that developer Joe Pappalardo wasn’t around to see the grand opening.
“Any of you that have small children know that a day can be very long at [the Emergency Room], so this is a wonderful thing for the community, it’s so much needed.”
“But, I think Joe Pappalardo, today would be smiling,” she continued. “We lost Joe not too long ago. The quality of his developments and his vision to bring a medical community here to this Merrimack Street area of Methuen was a vision of his that is fulfilled now. I want to thank Doctors Express for being a part of that and I’m sure he is smiling down on us right now.”
A LONG ROAD
State Representative Diana Dizoglio said she was thrilled to see the Doctors Express finally opened.
“This has taken a long time” she said as she got a hug from owner Lisa Williams.
“Lisa called me a couple of months ago; Lisa and Tom are friends of mine from North Andover and have been for a few years, and they said that they were having some issues getting this place up and running. They had some issues with regulations from the state that were stopping them from opening here in the community. So, we worked very hard with North Andover Selectman Phil Decologero, as well as many of you here today, to help with those regulations, and contact DPH to ask them to re-examine the cause of [Doctors Express] not being able to open.”
“We were very happy to see that within two weeks DPH was out here and were able to fix whatever the problem was and get this place open to serve the Methuen community.”
“It was a long haul, but we were able to work together. This is a great example of why we need public-private partnerships, and why we need to have government officials partnering together with the business community and the people who are creating jobs in this area. Dizoglio presented a citation from the House of Representatives signed by the speaker.
Senator Ives and other dignitaries welcomed the owners, Tom and Lisa Williams, to Methuen as Methuen residents were treated to food and drinks and were given a chance to tour the building.