"Everyone who comes in will be seen."
CAROL REEDER Hospital Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
St. Joseph Hospital’s urgent care clinic will close early next year, hospital officials confirmed Friday.
Hospital spokeswoman Leslie Broomall said the decision to close the clinic comes as the hospital is opening its new North East Wing, which will include an expanded emergency room department. She said no hospital employees will lose their jobs when the clinic closes.
"We’ve kind of been going back and forth on this," Broomall said of the decision. "I don’t think it’s going to be a huge shock (for people)."
Currently, St. Joseph’s urgent care clinic is separate from its emergency room. The clinic offers immediate care without an appointment for patients with minor injuries and illness - issues like sore throats, the flu, or sports injuries. It’s open seven days a week.
According to the St. Joseph website, patient fees for the urgent care clinic are sometimes higher than a scheduled trip to a primary care physician, but lower than a trip to the ER. The hospital will close the clinic Jan. 5.
Hospital Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Carol Reeder said the hospital’s new emergency department will be larger and incorporate services previously available at the urgent care clinic. The new ER houses 20 beds, 11 more than the previous department.
She said the "state of the art" services offered in the new ER, and having the hospital’s providers all in one place, were enough reason to close the separate urgent care clinic. Wait times in the new ER will decrease for more serious injuries and illnesses, and "we’ll still be able to provide that (urgent care) service," she said.
Treatment bays nearer the lobby will be reserved for less-serious injuries, Reeder said.
"Everyone who comes in will be seen," she said. Reeder she said she doesn’t expect the billing to change much from the current tiered approach, under which ER patients are charged more than urgent care.
"The less acute patient will be billed less," she said. "There will be somewhat similar charges as currently in urgent care."
The hospital’s new 100,000-square-foot, $145 million North East Wing opened this past Sunday.
Luke Ramseth can be reached at 441-0509 or email@example.com.