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The Urgent Care Center of MSKCC

This information describes when you should go to the Urgent Care Center of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and what will happen while you're there.

What is the Urgent Care Center?

The Urgent Care Center (UCC) is an emergency room for MSKCC patients only. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. UCC staff evaluates and manages problems related to:

  • Cancer
  • Medical and surgical complications
  • Side effects of cancer treatments

Many tests and treatments can be done in the UCC. For example, you can receive medication intravenously (through a vein) or be given a blood transfusion. The staff is trained to deal with continuous medication infusion devices, such as a CADD pump for pain medications, and problems related to other home medical devices.

Why would I need to go to the UCC?

You should go to the UCC if you have an urgent medical problem that can't wait until your doctor can see you. For example, if you have:

  • A fever
  • Active bleeding
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as a cough, fever, or chills
  • Any other urgent medical issues

If you are having an urgent medical problem, first contact your primary doctor at MSKCC. Many things can be handled by phone. Call your doctor's office during business hours (Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm). After business hours, during the weekend, and on holidays, call (212) 639-2000 and ask to speak with the doctor on call for your doctor.

Your doctor may decide that you need to go to the UCC after talking with you. In that case, the UCC will be notified. Your doctor may also decide that you should be admitted to the hospital. If so, you will need to come to the UCC first.

If you have a life-threatening emergency, always go to the closest emergency room.

Where is the UCC located?

The UCC is on the 1st floor of Memorial Hospital. The closest entrance is located at 425 East 67th Street. This entrance is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What happens to me when I get there?

After you are registered, a nurse will see you. The wait time to see your nurse depends on how many other patients are in the UCC. Your nurse will ask you to explain why you came in. You may need to have blood tests, x-rays, and other tests. After that, you will likely return to the UCC waiting area until your examination bed is ready. As soon as your bed is ready, a UCC doctor will see you.

Although your primary doctor may have arranged for you to go to the UCC to be admitted, an inpatient bed may not be ready when you get there. You will be notified when your bed is ready.

Why was another patient seen before me even though I got here first?

Many factors affect the order in which patients are seen. The goal is to have you in your inpatient bed or discharged as soon as possible. It's difficult to estimate the exact amount of time this will take. Sometimes, certain patients will be seen first if they have more immediate needs.

Thank you for understanding that patient safety is our main concern and for trusting that we are doing the best we can for our patients.

Can my family or friends visit me in the UCC?

The UCC is a busy area. When you are in the main clinical area of the UCC, please limit visits to 1 person at a time at your bedside. Other visitors are welcome to wait in the waiting areas. For their own health and wellness, children under the age of 11 should not visit the UCC.

Will I automatically be admitted to the hospital after coming to the UCC?

No. Your UCC doctor and nurse will discuss whether it is safe for you to go home or if you need to be admitted to the hospital. This discussion is based on your:

  • Medical and surgical history
  • Physical exam
  • Test results

Will my primary doctor(s) at MSKCC be notified of my visit to the UCC?

Yes. Once all of your test results are available, your UCC doctor will contact your primary doctor(s). If your primary doctor is not available, he or she will call the doctor on call for your doctor. They will discuss your care. Your primary doctor will most likely not see you in the UCC.

What happens when I am discharged?

Your UCC doctor and nurse will give you a list of instructions to follow, as well as any information that may be helpful to you. Your UCC doctor or nurse will discuss your current situation with you and review any medications that were prescribed.

Do I need to notify my insurance company when I visit the UCC?

Most insurance companies require that you contact them within 24 to 48 hours. If you don't do this, you may have to pay a higher copayment or the total charge for the visit. The number to call is usually on your insurance card. If you have any questions, call Patient Financial Services at (212) 639-8242.