By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
VISALIA – Kaweah Delta closed one of its two Sequoia Prompt Care locations earlier this week. But fast, walk-in patient care is just up the road.
Kaweah Delta Health Care District closed its Sequoia Prompt Care location at 820 W. Akers St., Suite 100 inside Sequoia Medical Plaza on Jan. 14. The decision to close the clinic was made by the Kaweah Delta Medical Foundation because it was just a quarter mile from a nearly identical service provided at QuickCare, located at 5400 W. Hillsdale Ave. inside Visalia Medical Clinic (VMC).
Rick Strid, CEO of the Kaweah Delta Medical Foundation and executive director of VMC, said there was no sense in operating two clinics that close together as both Kaweah Delta and VMC are partners through the medical foundation.
“VMC and Kaweah Delta formed this affiliation to reduce the cost of care for patients,” Strid said. “By not duplicating services were are keeping costs down for all patients.”
Similar to Sequoia Prompt Care, QuickCare is a walk-in clinic that treats non life-threatening illnesses and injuries, such as sprains and broken bones, mild respiratory problems, cold and flu, animal bites and stomach pain, when you can’t see your regular doctor or don’t have a private physician. Radiology and lab draws are done on site. QuickCare offers eight exam rooms to see patients within an hour of arrival with no appointment or with an appointment scheduled online.
Kaweah Delta also plans on closing its second Sequoia Prompt Care location at 1110 S. Ben Maddox Way, Suite B on April 2, when it will reopen as a VMC QuickCare clinic at the same location. The name of the clinics is still being decided and could be a combination of the two, such as Sequoia QuickCare. Each clinic will be staffed by two VMC physicians at all times.
“There won’t be a whole lot of remodeling but more public outreach will be done as we get closer,” Strid said.
John Leal, director of Kaweah Delta Urgent Cares, said Kaweah Delta will continue to staff and operate its existing Urgent Care location at 1633 S. Court St. and its soon-to-be-open second location at 3600 Flagstaff Ave. at the corner of Demaree Street. The second urgent care is expected to be open in late spring or early summer.
“We have a high demand at the Court location,” Leal said.
Once the second Urgent Care opens this year, Leal said the combination of all four non-emergent care centers will provide strategic access for patients in the west, east, north and central parts of Visalia. The primary difference between the locations will be hours of operation. Sequoia Prompt Care opens an hour later every day and stays open two hours later on weekdays than QuickCare, so the final hours of operation are still to be worked out. For now, QuickCare at VMC is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday; while Sequoia Prompt Care on Ben Maddox is open from weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kaweah Delta Urgent Care on Court Street is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Both Strid and Leal said the main point for patients to remember is to use urgent care instead of the Emergency Department for all non emergency medical issues.
“A patient going to the Emergency Room for a sore throat is not cost effective for anyone,” Strid said. “These rapid medical clinic are for low acuity patients making an unplanned visit to the see a doctor.”
The consolidation of the fast-tracked clinics is just the latest collaboration between Kaweah Delta Health Care District and the Visalia Medical Clinic. VMC became an affiliate of Kaweah Delta Medical Foundation on Nov. 1, 2015 in an effort to improve and streamline patient care in Tulare County by creating a seamless relationship between the hospital and local physicians.