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New urgent care center opens its doors on Route 58 in former Pizza Hut building

Newly renovated STAT Health urgent care center on the Route 58 traffic circle. Photos: Courtney Blasl

STAT Health is opening its new urgent care facility in Riverhead this week, offering patients quick and convenient access to care from board-certified emergency medicine physicians alongside high-tech conveniences like online check-in and wait time information.

The building on Route 58, which previously housed a Pizza Hut restaurant, has been completely transformed over several months of remodeling and repairs. High ceilings and open rooms give the facility a spacious, airy atmosphere alongside brightly painted walls and wooden floors.

“We spare no expense in trying to make this as comfortable a place for the patient to come as humanly possible,” said Paolo Coppola, emergency medicine doctor and co-founder of STAT Health. “Most people aren’t coming here because they’re having a good day, so we try to do whatever we can to make things pleasant for them.”

Patient experience is extremely important to Coppola. Twelve years ago, his desire to create a more comfortable alternative to the dreaded emergency room trip is what inspired him and fellow doctor Marc Salzberg to open their first STAT Health location in Smithtown.

“You just can’t have that kind of patient-centered experience in an emergency room in a hospital,” Coppola said. “That’s not what they’re there for.”

STAT Health was Coppola’s answer for patients seeking care from emergency medicine doctors in a less stressful, time-consuming environment. He and Salzberg set out to build a facility that was both visually pleasing and comfortable to spend time in.

They accomplished this by paying attention to the little details: Installing seats in the waiting room designed for extra comfort, for example, and building more spacious exam rooms so patients don’t feel cramped during their visits.

“It might be a higher cost model, but if you provide the service that people want, they appreciate the effort,” Coppola said.

Convenience is another guiding tenet in STAT Health’s philosophy. Four out of five patients at STAT Health spend less than an hour at the facility, Coppola said. “And for that fifth patient, it’s probably because they were very sick and needed to be there a little longer,” he added. “If someone needs IV antibiotics or treatment for a laceration, we’re not going to rush them out the door.”

Patients are also able to view the current wait times at all STAT Health facilities and check-in online before heading to the car so that they will be at the front of the line when they arrive.

STAT Health offers treatment for all urgent complaints, including general illnesses like the cold or the flu, sprains and fractures, minor injuries and lacerations. The Riverhead location is equipped with digital X-ray capabilities, so patients can skip a long and expensive trip to the emergency room to get an x-ray for an injured ankle or wrist.

“Nationally, the wait times at the emergency room are measured in hours,” Coppola said. “Our wait times are measured in minutes. And the cost of the emergency room is extremely expensive compared to a visit at the urgent care center.”

Since the building was twice struck by vehicles leaving the roadway — in both incidents causing extensive damage — STAT Health has built a stone wall near the curb in the spot where both vehicles careened off the road and into the building.

Following a soft opening Tuesday, STAT Health is open for walk-in appointments seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. An open house at the facility on Saturday and Sunday will offer free flu shots, tours and and opportunity to talk with the staff and doctors.

The new urgent care center is the third urgent care center to open on Route 58 this year. Go Health/Northwell Urgent Care opened in June in a newly constructed building at Gateway Plaza, where Walmart and Bob’s Furniture are located. ProHealth opened an urgent care center in the office complex next to Toys R Us in May. 


Katie Blasl
Katie, winner of the 2016 James Murphy Cub Reporter of the Year award from the L.I. Press Club, is a reporter, editor and web developer for the LOCAL news websites. A Riverhead native, she is a 2014 graduate of Stony Brook University. Email Katie