How to get healthcare in NYC?
January 8, 2015 7:19 AM   Subscribe

I am in New York City, only for a month. How do I go about seeing a doctor for a non-emergency issue that nonetheless has a high impact on quality of life? Also, do you have any thoughts on the medical issue at hand: very frequent bowel movements, possibly linked to an infection?

So I am a graduate student living in NYC for the month with a good university-sponsored insurance plan and the (fortunate) ability to pay small to moderate out-of-pocket medical costs. I have been having the issue of frequent bowel movements (up to 6-7x/a day) that may be linked to a previous infection (see medical details if you want them) and I'm worried about this.

If I were back at school, which is not in the NYC Metro area, I would just go to university health services and ask to see a doctor/nurse. However, I'm in NYC, don't want to go to the ER (this is not an emergency) but otherwise don't know how I can see a doctor soon. In my experience calling a doctor as a new patient often leads to 2-3 weeks' wait time, which I'd prefer to avoid in case this is serious. Is there some way I can get around this? Maybe a clinic or something? Or particular recommendations for a doctor's office? (I am lucky enough to have good insurance so I hesitate to take advantage of medical resources for people who are really in dire straits.)

FYI I am living near Prospect Park, working in the Financial District. No car. I am a man.

Medical details:
In mid-December I came down with an illness that involved 4 days of near-constant diarrhea and 1 bout of severe vomiting. I went to see a doctor after that and was diagnosed with either salmonella, E. Coli, campylobacter, or Hepatitis A. On the possibility that it was one of the first three, I had a 5-day prescription for antibiotics (ciprofloxacin) and the diarrhea has gone away. However, my bowel movements never really regularized and in the last week or so the frequency has flared up again and I'm concerned that my gut remains infected.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Use ZocDoc to find someone with an immediate appointment. You put in specialty, insurance and they show you people who have availability. Do call after doing the appointment electronically as sometimes some practices aren't totally good with the system.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:22 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Urgent care walk-in clinic? I can't recommend a specific one in NYC, but that seems like what you need. Or call your university health center and ask what they recommend.
posted by mskyle at 7:23 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Definitely urgent care. I went to a CityMD once and it was a great experience. Check in online before you go to save yourself some paperwork.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:25 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

There are zillions of urgent care clinics opening around the city. I have used CityMD a couple times and was happy with their service. Exactly what you need: a quick consult and the ability to prescribe if needed.
posted by Liesl at 7:32 AM on January 8, 2015

CityMD and ZocDoc are good solutions for what you're looking for.
posted by dfriedman at 7:37 AM on January 8, 2015

CityMD urgent care offices are definitely good. If you want a specific recommendation for a specialist, I really like my gastroenterologist, Dr. Pfeffer. He usually doesn't have a long wait time for new patients, especially if you explain your symptoms. As a bonus, his name is fun to say.
posted by bedhead at 7:40 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Definitely urgent care. Also if your health plan has an "advice nurse" phone number, you can call that and likely get help as to what's the best course of action and may even be able to help with which urgent care clinics are covered better by your plan. (Usually you would find this either on the back of your insurance card or on the website.)
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:41 AM on January 8, 2015

I went to the CityMD on 57th Street and had the best doctor experience I have ever had with a GP--ever. I even asked if he took regular patients (he didn't).
posted by yellowcandy at 8:12 AM on January 8, 2015

nthing CityMD. I go there for preference.

(and seconding Dr Pfeffer! he's my husband's GI doc as well.)
posted by gaspode at 8:19 AM on January 8, 2015

I spend a lot of time in NYC. I have had three excellent experiences over the past three years at Urgent Care Manhattan, for everything from needing antibiotics for an infected tick bite to sudden severe abdominal pain, on the UWS. The address is 199 Amsterdam Avenue (at 69th) New York, NY 10023 and the phone is (212) 721-4200. The doctors profiles are here

Disclosure: a close friend of mine is close friends with one of the doctors, which is how I heard of this place, but I have never met this doctor and have no personal interest in the clinic. I'm glad it's there, though.
posted by third rail at 8:32 AM on January 8, 2015

(Epidemiologist chiming in: You may very well be dealing with GI distress that's caused or exacerbated by a disruption in the normal proportion of typical intestinal bacterial strains--it's very common after antibiotic regimens. You will not do yourself harm, and you will possibly help your gut flora repopulate, by taking any variety of OTC probiotic. You can get them in so many forms these days at any grocery store, from juices to capsules. I would still urge you to seek the medical attention mentioned by others above, but this is a simple immediate step you can take to try and help yourself fully recover.)
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:43 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Urgent care, and given your symptoms and history of Cipro use, you should be tested for C. diff.
posted by telegraph at 5:22 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

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