WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A first of its kind in our area, United Regional Health Care System is now operating a day-of orthopedic clinic called Orthopedics Express.

It’s something URHCS saw a need for a long time ago and is able to make possible now with its new Center for Advanced Orthopedics.

Orthopedic surgeon and URHCS Orthopedics Express Medical Director Michael Sheen, MD has practiced at United Regional for 40 years now.

“The hospital had a commitment, when I first started at URPG it four physicians, two orthopedic surgeons and two cardiovascular surgeons and now it’s 84 practitioners, 51 advanced practitioners, and we’ve got 33 physicians,” Dr. Sheen said. “So the hospital saw a need a long time ago to start taking care of the community as a whole.”

Part of that now includes the latest Orthopedics Express. It’s a walk-in clinic for fast-tracked orthopedic care.

“If you can come in, within 30 minutes you know what’s going on and go on your way,” Dr. Sheen said. “Simple lacerations, which don’t take a lot of time to fix, we can do those, fractures that don’t need reduction, simple splinting we can do, evaluate, you know, injuries like ankle sprain, even an ankle fracture and get that taken care of.”

Not just what is offered, but also where it’s offered.

“We’re centrally located in the city, easy access to get to by bus or anything else,” Dr Sheen said. “So we felt that this was the perfect situation for that kind of an expansion of our services to the community.”

Sylvia Payton, MSN-FNP in Orthopedic Surgery has been a champion for the clinic.

“We don’t have anything like this in town, this is the first of its kind, a lot of the bigger cities have it, but we were really excited to start something,” Payton said. “People come in and they’ll tell us that they went to the ER and then they went to their family doctor and they waited for a referral and now it’s been three weeks and they’re they’ve been hurting all this time.”

Payton said they’re able to provide patients with answers they may have been looking for and then allow them to decide where to go from there.

“So if we could open a place that they could just go to when they’re hurting and it gives them answers, even if we can’t fix everything, we can at least start the process of getting some answers of what is their diagnosis and how do we manage it,” Payton said.

On the first day of operation alone, Payton said 13 patients came through the doors of Orthopedics Express.

“So many people don’t know where to go, they don’t know if they need a referral, they don’t know if they need to get a clearance from their primary physician before they come here and that’s what this is for is that you don’t have to have a referral, you can just come in, we’re just gonna tell you what the diagnosis is, we’re gonna tell you the treatment options, the ultimate decision for treatment is up to every patient,” Payton said.

Since opening in mid-October 2023, the program has already been a big success. That’s proven in one case where Payton said a woman wasn’t sure where to go for care after having a boot put on, only to find out she needed surgical intervention.

“When we saw her, we were able to identify that this is actually a fracture, an ankle fracture that required surgery,” Payton said. “So when we were able to identify that, we were able to get her into surgery within a couple of days and she is doing great right now.”

It ultimately serves as a new way to fast-track your orthopedic care.

Patients are encouraged to schedule an appointment through MyChart.

Orthopedics Express also accepts walk-ins.

The hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the United Regional Center for Advanced Orthopedics located at 1620 8th Street in Wichita Falls.