Skylands Medical Group has been a mainstay of the Route 15/Edison Road corridor for years, but the practice is changing to fit the times. The new Skylands Urgent Care has been operating for about a month, and it proved the hunch of the doctors that there is a need for a practice open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The idea for an urgent care center in this area is not new. Dr. Jean-Paul Bonnet, founder of Skylands, and his son, Dr. Andre Bonnet, talked about the need for several years. When space opened up in the medical office building the elder Bonnet built, they decided to go for it.

Andre Bonnet found he enjoyed the fast pace of the emergency department, so he made that his specialty after graduation from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (his father’s alma mater) and residency at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark. He practices at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank when he is not at Skylands.

The hours are convenient for those who work during the day, and the facility has complete X-ray and ultrasound suites. Another advantage is that Skylands Urgent Care shares the building with LabCorp. During the lab’s hours, results are available very quickly. Jean-Paul Bonnet said patients can get all the care they would receive in a hospital emergency department, but that is not the only reason for an urgent care center.

“We serve the uninsured and under-insured,” he said, noting that some people who are insured still have a deductible of up to $5,000. “The old-fashioned model isn’t working. My goal is to create a new model for health care in this area.”

A fee schedule is in place for those without insurance. A plan is being developed to allow those who cannot otherwise afford health care to pay a small amount per month toward getting the help they need at the urgent care center.

Even before that is set up, having a facility for primary care is important to the area, Andre Bonnet said. Patients include those who have just moved into the area and have no primary care physician. He noted that people who use Route 15 to commute tend to come in after work.

In addition to the two doctors, the staff includes two physician assistants, Joaquin Gonzalez-Melquiades and Mike Cerone.

Andre Bonnet, who grew up in Sparta, enjoys being back in the lake area. The only thing that would make the location better, he said, would be if it were within walking distance of the lake.

The urgent care center is located at 174 Edison Road, Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey 07849. They can be contacted by phone by calling 973-663-2700. You can learn more about the center and the services it offers by visiting their website at www.skylandsurgentcare.com.

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