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DYER — Have an orthopedic injury but can't get in to see your doctor and want to avoid the time and expense of the emergency room?

A new Northwest Indiana business has a solution for you.

XPress Ortho Care, 875 Joliet St., offers urgent care specifically for orthopedic injuries, such as fractures, dislocations and sprains. The clinic opened in late March.

"The model is different than walk-in clinics and it's different than emergency rooms," said Dr. Gary Dix, a Maryland neurosurgeon who is one of the company's founders. "We're kind of filling the void in between the two."

The business continues a surge of urgent care clinics opening locally as the health care system moves toward treating patients in less expensive settings. But it's unique for Northwest Indiana in that it specializes in one type of medicine.

Nationally, with the general urgent care market becoming saturated, more and more specialty clinics have been popping up. Pediatric urgent care is another growing market across the country.

Xpress Ortho Care partners financially with local orthopedic surgeons who agree to provide follow-up treatment. Interest from eight Northwest Indiana orthopedists connected to outpatient surgical centers and the state's generous workers' compensation reimbursement, led the company to open its first location in Dyer. Similar clinics across the country are generally located right next to the orthopedists' offices.

"We're using the phrase retail medicine," Dix said. "In this retail space we felt we had to differentiate ourselves and have standalone, dedicated ortho clinics."

The clinic, using X-rays, diagnoses orthopedic injuries and refer patients to one of the partnering orthopedists, who can do urgent surgeries if needed.

"Some of our doctors are in Merrillville, some are in Schererville, St. John," said physician assistant Sammy Cordova. "It's really important for folks who want to stay within a certain radius and not drive 45 minutes or a half hour to go to their docs."

Mid-level providers on staff can reduce dislocations and set fractures. The clinic also does splinting and puts on and removes casts.

"Living in this area with the athlete population and the health-and-fitness population, it's really a dynamic opportunity here," said clinical administrator Lisa Galik.

Xpress Ortho Care is open seven days a week and into the evenings. Dix said the copay is about the sixth of that of going to the emergency room.


Health reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.