HealthLeaders Media Council members discuss owning or partnering with convenient and urgent care clinics.
This article first appeared in the September 2017 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Rapid City, SD
We own urgent care sites throughout our markets. Regional Health’s flagship facility is in Rapid City, South Dakota, and we have community hospitals and clinics throughout Black Hills and western South Dakota.
We have two dedicated convenient care centers in the Rapid City market, and we have urgent care hours and extended hours in our primary care clinics in our rural markets. For some patients, this is an alternative to going to the emergency department, and it’s quite an improvement. We were wondering when we first began offering convenient care whether convenient or urgent care centers would have an impact on our emergency department volumes.
We have not seen any real drop in those volumes, but we do think that there’s always better and more efficient ways to provide care.
Like many communities, we have a shortage of primary care providers in our area, and this is another outlet that enables our patients to access care.
I think what we’ve done in our rural communities is a good example of how smaller healthcare organizations can get involved in convenient care. I know other organizations have considered partners you would find in other markets, such as drugstores, but the partner opportunities just weren’t available to us.
So, in many cases, we simply extended the hours of existing facilities to meet our patients’ demand for nontraditional hours of clinic operation.
Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.