CLINTON — Medical Associates Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine is continuing to add convenience to medical care for residents of the Gateway area and beyond.

With Medical Associates’ main facility at 915 13th Ave. North closing regularly at 4 p.m., those seeking immediate medical attention after hours have had the option since 2014 to direct their efforts to the urgent care facility at 2400 Lillian Way.

Medical Associates Chief Administrative Officer Jay Collier explained just how important the urgent care clinic is to the community.

“Our main facility is a traditional physicians’ office, so I think the idea for Urgent Care was really to provide care on a convenience basis,” Collier said. “Obviously sometimes the best thing to do is go to an emergency room, but you may be sitting in there for hours and hours. If the injury or illness isn’t necessarily an emergency situation, you’ll receive low priority. That’s the way it is. That’s where our urgent care clinic comes in.”

According to Collier, the organization’s main facility sees approximately 700 appointments in various departments on average per day. That can eliminate the possibility of any immediate assistance taking place, and in the process, it can create a patient-overflow situation.

That’s another area when Urgent Care can come to the rescue — and it often does.

“Our Urgent Care sees about 65 patients on an average day, but that can obviously change if our main facility gets a little hectic,” Collier said. “We’re always staffed accordingly at Urgent Care, and we’re ready to handle just about any amount of people that may walk in our door. There, our patients can have a much greater chance of getting treated in a timely manner.”

The only time the urgent care facility has seen a little congestion was last year on the day after Christmas, when it was nearly the only clinic open. Still, patients were able to be treated fairly quickly, Collier said.

Collier admits that the urgent care facility can’t take on everything. Patients should still try to go to the main facility for ambulatory surgical care, a service carried out by that building five days per week.

Though the urgent care facility’s history is brief, the staff there has no doubt set it apart as one of the premier such clinics in the area, according to Collier. That’s why the patient base spans much of the east-central part of the state of Iowa, as well as some coming across the Mississippi River from Illinois.

The ever-changing landscape of the medical field makes it somewhat difficult for administrators such as Collier to predict Urgent Care’s future, but one thing is for sure: They’ll be ready.

“As the community changes, and it seems to change all the time, we’ll change right along with it,” Collier said. “We know it might not always be easy, but to survive in this industry, you need to mirror the needs of your patients and the community that they come from. Their needs in primary care are the most important thing to us and they always have been. I think that’s why we see people coming from all over the region to receive treatment with us at Urgent Care.”