By Katie Dahlstrom
Medical Associates plans to open an urgent care and occupational medicine facility in Clinton this winter to meet the growing needs of the community.
The new 6,000-square-foot facility will be located on the northwest corner of Manufacturing Drive and Valley West Drive, and will be staffed by one full-time physician, one full-time nurse practitioner and midlevel providers trained in both urgent care and occupational medicine.
Medical Associates Chief Operating Officer Thomas Moser said the facility will offer extended evening and weekend hours depending on the community's needs.
The new facility will accept all major insurances, and will be price competitive with other primary care practices in the region, he said. Unlike a traditional physician’s office, the new facility will see patients without appointment.
Groundbreaking for the new facility is anticipated in early August, with completion scheduled for December.
The move by Medical Associates to open an urgent-care facility is part of a growing trend. More than 3 million patients visit urgent care centers across the country, according to the Urgent Care Association of America. Each center has an average 357 patient visits per week.
The number of urgent care clinics has grown by 16 percent in the past two years, with approximately 9,000 facilities operating in the U.S.
The rise in urgent care clinics is a result of increased demand from patients like mothers with sick children, people with minor injuries or those with the flu who want to avoid long waits to see a primary care physician, but wouldn't typically seek emergency room care.
"Health care is changing. Consumers want more convenient access to health care. Our patient satisfaction surveys show people want to see physicians in a timely fashion," Moser said. "If you're sick, you can't always get in the same day and the emergency department can be expensive. And really, these aren't people who would need emergency care."
With the pending flood of people entering the healthcare market under the Affordable Care Act, Medical Associates is joining the other 3,000 physician-owned urgent care centers in providing more opportunities for sick people to get quick care.
"With more people accessing healthcare, there needs to be more avenues for people," Moser said. "We hope this facility will mean fewer patients will feel they need to leave the community for health care."
The center also will offer occupational medicine such as pre-employment drug and physical screenings and workplace injury care.
Moser said while Medical Associates offers occupational medicine, having a physician that focuses on serving area employers will bring the care to a new level.
His sentiments echoed those of Dr. John Dixon, chairman of Medical Associates’ Management Committee.
"Providing urgent care and occupational medicine services in a dedicated facility fills an important need for convenient patient access to medical care within our community," Dixon said. "The new location also responds to requests we have received from area employers by offering dedicated facilities and staffing for workplace injuries, employee physicals and other occupational health needs.”
Medical Associates physicians have talked about opening the facility for years, but began planning in earnest last fall. They chose the corner of Manufacturing Drive and Valley West Court because of the high traffic volume.
The design-builder for the project will be Madison, Wis., based ERDMAN Company.
The facility also will have space that could be used for a family care physician.