With the baby boomer generation growing older and the need for medical care increasing, Springfield will be getting more urgent care centers in the near future.
That word coming from Mercy, who announced on Wednesday that they'll be partnering with GoHealth Urgent Care to bring in more facilities.
It's still to be determined how many urgent care centers Springfield will be getting and where they'll be, but what is known is that GoHealth, a four-year-old company with urgent care centers on the east and west coast, will partner with Mercy to expand into Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma with 30 urgent care facilities over the next two years including locations in Springfield and northwest Arkansas.
And like Cox, who has moved into Walmart these days, they'll be in convenient but yet-to-be-determined retail locations like strip malls.
"This is very needs-based," explained Dr. Rob Cavagnol, the Chief Physician Officer with Mercy Springfield Communities. "We're not bringing this in because this is something we just wanted to do. This is something that the community is asking for. Quick, easy, convenient, high-quality, high patient satisfaction. And that's really what GoHealth brings is that combination."
Promising the latest in technology, the new urgent care centers will be open seven days a week with extended hours, allowing patients to walk-in or pre-register and choose a time when they can get in faster.
There will also be access to Mercy's online app so patients and doctors can see medical records and communicate with each other.
"Certainly companies like Amazon and other ones have really set that standard," Cavagnol said. "People want to be able to access their provider on their phones, schedule online, see how long the wait times are."
If you think the demand is not there, just try to find a parking place at most medical buildings or try to get in an emergency room and not have a long wait. The purpose of the urgent care centers is to take the less serious patients away from the ER yet not take the place of a primary care physician.
"We actually had the conversation with 60 of our primary care doctors and said what do you think about this," Cavagnol said. "They feel like it's going to be an adjunct to what they're able to offer. And so patients will get seen at GoHealth, they're on the same electronic health record that we use, and then from there they'll get referred in to get established with a primary care doctor."
So because of our fast-paced society where we want it, and we want it now, we're getting our medical care the same way we're getting served at places like Walmart or a fast-food place.
Even though the medical folks don't like the fast-food analogy for obvious reasons..