"I didn't anticipate how long we'd be here," he said. "At the
time, it was a brand new idea."
The idea was to open a business that would provide a cheaper
option to patients -- many who are uninsured -- with another option
for urgent care needs such as flu, minor burns, cuts, bone fractures
and asthma attacks.
"I really felt we could we could easily handle eight out of every
10 patients that are usually seen in a hospital emergency
department," Foullon said. "In a lower-cost facility, our costs are
less than a hospital. We found that we could offer the hours of
availability we have now at a lower cost per patient."
Foullon and his staff, which includes six physicians, have kept
the business going by keeping overhead low. Instead of hiring nurses,
he said he relies on physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Ultimately, through keeping down costs, Foullon has been able to
reduce urgent care costs by about a quarter from what an emergency
room might charge, without sacrificing quality.
The difference, he said, is that medical assistants can see
patients before a doctor. Plus, the patient's "educational needs,"
such as diet, can be conveyed by medical assistants and nurse
practitioners rather than doctors, who can move on to another
"In our practice, I think it's a value- added service to have
medical assistants and nurse practitioners," Foullon said.
Foullon, who has practiced emergency medicine at hospitals
including Verdugo Hills Hospital, started serving about 1,000
patients a month in a single urgent care facility in 1984. Now his
staff of 40 full-time employees serves about 4,000 patients a month.
Services have expanded to include everything from physical therapy to
workers' compensation care.
"It's just excellent care, always," said Glendale resident Elsie
Amaya, 67, who, with her mother, has been using the facility since
the mid-1980s. "I like it because it's smaller and more homey."