The Sharp County Urgent Care Clinic is coming along slowly but surely. Even though rainy weather of late April and May slowed construction, Clinic Administrator Joe Walls said he still expects the facility to open next year.
"The sewer lines and water lines are in. We have lines all the way down to the Highland sewer line," Walls said. "The next phase is pouring the foundation."
Walls said getting electricity to the facility will require installing new transformers and moving many of the lines across the property.
"We have enough time to be up next year. We used up the buffer time," Walls said.
When the $6 million outpatient and urgent care clinics are added to the current complex housing the offices of Drs. Surinder Sra, Jerry Ellis and Tommy Taylor, the facility will be 26,000 square feet, compared to the current 11,000-square-foot clinic which Walls currently operates out of.
A surgery room will also be on the first floor, but Walls said he doubts it will be used much.
The building will be owned by Sra, Ellis and Taylor, but WRMC will lease it for 20 years, Walls said. He added he will be the clinic administrator until he retires.
The first floor of the facility will also house the offices of Drs. Tim Young and Don Lamoureaux. The urgent care and outpatient surgery section of the building will be in the upstairs portion as well.
The downstairs will house the imaging center and physical therapy section of the building. Services provided will include ultrasounds, bone density scans, mammograms and colonoscopies.
There will be 135 parking spaces in the parking lot of the complex, Walls said. He said the facility will need every one of them. Currently the clinic in Highland has only 88 parking spaces.
The new clinic will also provide residents with urgent care.
"An urgent clinic is open at odd hours. When other clinics are closed, you can go to the urgent care clinic," he said. "If you have problems in the night or afternoons, we can stabilize you and get you to the right place." The hours for the urgent care clinic are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
The urgent care clinic is not an emergency room, Walls said. He said an emergency room is attached to a hospital, and ambulances will always take patients to an emergency room.
"We offer a lot of services an emergency room does. If you can get yourself there, we can take care of you." Services offered at the urgent care include, defibrillator and resuscitation, stitching and treatment for everyday illnesses, Walls said.
"Right now we see a patient every 1.3 hours. We're open 62 hours a week from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. We're also open on holidays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m." Walls said. "We're not open when other doctors are open."
The decision to build the facility came after a study conducted by John Baker, professor of health services administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for White River Medical Center.
Baker's study concluded that citizens were most concerned about having a hospital to provide timely emergency services if a health crisis developed. They were also concerned about the distance of diagnostic and therapeutic services not available in the hospital or community. Residents wanted a hospital for outpatient services, Baker said.
Baker's study also said residents would likely use a local hospital for minor health problems, but did not view it as a place to receive complex or specialty care.
Walls said the complex will be his final project. He is a former rural health services coordinator for White River Medical Center and has overseen the installation of health facilities in Melbourne and Cave City.