By the end of 2019, Beaumont Health plans to invest approximately $30 million in urgent care centers in Metro Detroit. They are planning to open about 30 urgent care clinics in the area, creating 150 new jobs for medical care providers and support staff.
Beaumont is a Royal Oak-based health care system and they are partnering with Atlanta-based WellStreet Urgent Care in order to open and operate this large number of new facilities. Increased demand from patients for low-cost and convenient care options have spurred the development of healthcare clinics across Detroit.
According to officials, they are still in the process of selecting the exact locations of the centers, but they will be in high-traffic areas, near high-volume emergency centers, large employers, and areas that are dense with commercial enterprises. The centers are expected to range in size from 4,000 to 5,000 square feet.
While there are certainly times when it's appropriate for a person to go to the emergency room for medical treatment, a recent study shows that approximately 44% to 65% of all ER episodes could have been treated at urgent care locations. Beaumont Health CEO John Fox sees the addition of numerous urgent care clinics connected in one comprehensive network as a way to lower health care costs for consumers and employers. Trips to emergency rooms are often costly, but going to the ER can circumvent those prices.
Fox also says that the urgent care centers will be incorporated into Beaumont's electronic health record system. When patients go to a Beaumont urgent care clinic, the staff will notify their primary care physician and share clinical information. In this way, primary care doctors are never left out of the loop and a patient can have coordinated medical treatment at all levels.
Beaumont's urgent care centers are meant to service patients with coughs, sore throats, skin irritations, fevers, mild intestinal illnesses, minor lacerations, and orthopedic injuries. The facilities will also have an x-ray and lab on premise to diagnose less complicated injuries or illnesses. Prepackaged medications, such as short-term antibiotics, will be available, although there will not be any pharmacies on site.
In an effort to provide truly immediate and convenient care, the centers will be open every day of the year for 12 hours a day. Patients will be able to walk in as usual, but can also make appointments online or through a new app. Officials estimate that a typical visit will be completed in under 50 minutes.
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