At his Doctors Express center in Towson, Md., Dr. Scott Burger has spent the last three years tending to the community’s night-time fevers and weekend hurts.

USA Today reports the former emergency room physician wants to take the center’s model nationwide, doing for urgent health care what, say, Papa John’s did for pizza — making sure the public can find it anywhere and always knows what it’s going to get.

At a time President Obama is pressing Congress to radically overhaul the nation’s health care system with an eye to affordable insurance for everyone, Burger and his partners are trying to launch the nation’s first urgent-care franchise, applying a model often associated with fast food and car repair to centers that would deliver affordable, non-emergency treatment to almost anyone who walks in.

They’re hoping to open 3,000 centers around the country, at which members of the public can come in without an appointment, in the evening or on weekends when their own doctors’ offices are closed, and get stitches, something for a sore throat or even a broken bone treated for a fraction of what they’d pay for a trip to an emergency room, and without the wait.

Photo by USA Today.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on November 24, 2009 in Ideas.

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