Augusta Health to Consolidate Practices

Friday, April 8, 2016

Over the past five years, Augusta Health has opened four Urgent Care Centers to make health care more accessible throughout the community it serves. The growth in patient visits at the Urgent Cares has been exponential, and these locations have been among the fastest growing service lines at Augusta Health.

"Patient visits at the four Urgent Care Centers in Staunton, Waynesboro, Stuarts Draft and Weyers Cave are projected to exceed 50,000 visits in 2016," said Karen Clark, President of Augusta Medical Group, when speaking on the growth in the service.

The Urgent Care Centers are adjacent to Outpatient Centers that include laboratory and radiology services; the Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft sites also include adjoining Primary Care physician practices. Additionally, the Stuarts Draft Urgent Care Center also offers 3D mammography, making that service more accessible to the community.

The services have been well-received; patient experience surveys indicated that patients value the convenience and efficiency of the Urgent Care Centers as an alternative to the Emergency Department.

Before the development of the Urgent Care Centers, Augusta Health opened two Convenient Care Clinics in the Walmart stores in Staunton and Waynesboro for providing non-emergency health services. In recent years, patient visits to those clinics have fallen off. "With the availability of comprehensive services located beside the near-by Urgent Care locations, more patients are now going directly to Urgent Care versus the Walmart Convenient Care Clinics," added Clark. "Patients are choosing Urgent Care locations because they include the laboratory and radiology services. Patient visits in the Walmart Convenient Care Clinics have declined by almost 30% since the opening of the Urgent Care locations."

The shift of patients seeking care to Urgent Care locations is projected to continue, and more growth in patient volume is anticipated. To serve the community better, the two Walmart Convenient Care Clinics will close so the providers can move to the Urgent Care Clinics.

"Recruitment of physicians and advanced practice providers is challenging, so consolidating these key providers into the larger and more comprehensive Urgent Care locations will create a more timely patient experience in the place where patients prefer to receive care," said Clark. "The top priority for Augusta Health is to be responsive to community need. Moving more providers to the Urgent Care Center as the patient visits continue to increase will assure that resources are available where the patients need them."

The closure of the Walmart Convenient Care Clinics will be on May 1, 2016. This consolidation does not affect the Crozet Convenient Care Clinic or other Urgent Care options. Those centers will continue to serve patients in those areas as they have been.

Augusta Health is an independent, community-owned, not-for-profit hospital whose mission is to promote the health and well-being of our community through access to excellent care. Named one of the 100 Top Hospitals in America by Thomson Reuters in both 2011 and 2012, Augusta Health has also been nationally recognized by HealthGrades as one of America's 50 Best Hospitals for clinical excellence and patient safety for two consecutive years. For more information about Augusta Health, its programs or its services, please contact Public Relations at (540) 245-7329 or visit our website, www.augustahealth.com.