WINTERSVILLE - Trinity Health System will unveil its own urgent care facility in January.
Trinity Expresscare will open Jan. 31 in the former Hollywood Video location on Main Street at the Riesbeck's Plaza. The space is being remodeled to provide multiple examination rooms and X-ray facilities.
What sets its urgent care facility apart, Trinity officials emphasize, is the commitment to staffing with physicians at all times.
"Trinity Health System has seen the need for high-quality urgent care and is committed to providing the very best medical care for the residents of the Upper Ohio Valley," said Keith Murdock, Trinity spokesman.
Dr. David Cercone, head of the Trinity emergency room staff, said there is a need for urgent care to help people who need to be seen by a doctor after their family physician's office is closed for the day or the weekend.
"Sometimes, you're sick and you can't wait for days to see your physician in his office. This is an alternative," he said.
The urgent care center also will help alleviate long waits at the emergency room for people having serious health problems or injuries.
Typically, he said, Trinity Expresscare will be seeing people with respiratory illnesses (colds, for example), people with sprains and strains, rashes such as poison ivy, urinary tract infections and other minor problems. They're serious enough to see a doctor but not serious enough to be an emergency.
Urgent care centers had been on the rise in the 1980s, but fell out of favor, not because of the service they provided as much as because of payment systems.
"We saw the need 20 or 30 years ago in the industry, but then the patients with their health plans weren't all able to use urgent care," Cercone said. "Now, the health plans are realizing that it is cost effective as an alternative to emergency room care for non-emergency cases and the population needs an alternative access to care."
Jo Ann Mulrooney, Trinity director of nursing, said Trinity had been working on establishing an urgent care facility but wanted it staffed by physicians.
"It provides a quicker, safer setting for minor injuries and illnesses," she said. "Expresscare will be unique for the area because it will be staffed by physicians seven days a week."
The X-ray availability helps treatment at the urgent care center, but also will be available for patients who have had a physician order an X-ray. In addition, blood draws ordered by physicians for lab work will be able to be drawn at Trinity Expresscare.
Murdock said the current outpatient blood draw center in the Wintersville Kroger plaza will be closed and the services will be available at Expresscare. Mulrooney and Murdock noted for routine lab draws, Expresscare could be faster than coming to the hospital for labwork at certain times.
No appointments will be needed, the health system officials noted.
"We felt the community would be more responsive to an urgent care center staffed by physicians," Murdock said. The hospital will name at least two physicians for Expresscare, and nursing and administrative staff also will be added for the center.
"We chose a location that we thought would be convenient," Mulrooney said. "There's good parking and easy access." The center is located off a traffic-signaled entrance from Main Street.
The center is meant to offer patients available care when they need it and is not meant to supplant primary care physicians.
"Our community physicians are very busy," she said. "We have doctors now who refer their patents to the emergency room when their offices are closed, and that's a national problem and it adds to overcrowding of emergency rooms. We want to be able to provide our community with the very caring and efficient method of treating minor accidents and illnesses that they are used to receiving from Trinity. It's all part of our quest to be the best."
The center will be open until 9 p.m.
In addition, the center will be on Trinity's electronic records system, meaning any treatment received there will be on the patient's records available systemwide through Trinity.
"If the patient needs to see their own doctor or go to the hospital a few days later, the record of their treatment will be available," Mulrooney said.
(Giannamore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)