HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new emergency medical care treatment site in Kapolei is giving residents another option to having faster access to medical care.

Beginning this week, Kapolei patients can choose to be transported to selected urgent care facilities, including the Straub Kapolei Clinic and Urgent Care Center at Ka Makana Ali‘i, rather than go to a hospital.

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“Hospital-based emergency care may not be the most appropriate level of care required to treat a patient. Alternative care options allow us to work collaboratively to determine how to best manage emergency care resources in our communities,” said Dr. Alvin Bronstein, who serves as chief of the health department’s Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch.

Here’s how it works: When Emergency Medical Services (EMS) respond to 911 calls for medical emergencies, personnel will assess the patient’s condition and determine if it meets factors that are appropriate for an alternative destination. The patient will then be able to decide where to go.

The first alternative care site at Straub Kapolei Clinic and Urgent Care will operate Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“The goal for EMS is to have patients transported to the proper facility so that they will receive the appropriate level of care,” said Dr. James Ireland, who serves as the director. “Alternative care sites can potentially decrease emergency room overcrowding and benefit EMS with shorter transport times which result in putting 911 ambulances back in service sooner.”

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There are plans to expand the program to other areas on Oahu and on the neighbor islands.