By Tedarius Abrams, Sharon Washington and Elae Hill, Washington Informer
As part of its transformation to better meet the needs of District residents, Providence Health System will soon offer urgent care services. The Providence Urgent Care Center will open on Tuesday, July 9, on the current campus of Providence and will operate seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. The Providence Urgent Care Center is the first ever urgent care center in Ward 5.
Providence Health System recently received certificate of need (CON) approval from the District’s State Health Planning and Development Agency (SHPDA) to operate urgent care services on its campus.
The Urgent Care Center will provide treatment for a wide range of common, non-emergency illnesses. These services range from treating those suffering from the flu, strep throat, or asthma, to the treatment of sprains, strains, and broken bones, along with offering vaccinations, radiology and other lab services.
“Providence will continue to work toward meeting patient needs and addressing the social factors that influence a person’s health,” said Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee, MD, MPH, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of Providence Health System and Chief Community Impact Officer for Ascension. “We look forward to serving our community by offering another way to access convenient, immediate medical care.”
The Urgent Care Center is just one part of Providence’s strategy to address unmet health needs of local residentsthrough its healthy village vision to create a community of healthcare and non-healthcare partners supporting the whole person and their well-being.
Still, many Washingtonians expressed reservations over what they termed the continued “displacement of natives” through an elimination of necessary services – including reasonably priced housing, late-hour public transportation, and full-capacity hospitals and emergency rooms.
“Elected officials believe that with the change in demographics they no longer need emergency services and full-service or full-capacity hospitals and emergency rooms,” Ward 5 resident Mel Prentiss told the Informer. “The reality is that as the nation’s capital, D.C. holds the ominous position of being the target for all types of terror events. Should something catastrophic happen here, how would the city and its officials handle the medical fallout? Moving to preventative services and ‘urgent care’ facilities, does not meet those potential needs.”
A 2016 District of Columbia Community Health Needs Assessment found that 23.8 percent of adults did not have an identified primary care provider. It also found that 10 percent of District residents reported delays in getting medical care because they could not get a timely appointment. Providing urgent care services will help address these specific issues.
“Each ward should have basic needs and services readily available. Even though I do not like the mayor shuttering Providence Hospital as it was originally designed, I do believe that an urgent care facility in Ward 5 could work well,” Shanice Graven said. “The question is will this serve any real purpose that a Minute Clinic or other urgent care center could not. How will it impact our communities, long term? We will have to wait and see, so I will hold off on rash judgements until I see the proof of its benefit.”
Providence continues to operate primary care services, skilled nursing care at Carroll Manor, outpatient behavioral health, care coordination for Medicaid beneficiaries through the My Health GPS program, and a retail pharmacy with access to free medications to those who need it most.
To learn more about Providence’s transformation, go to ProvidenceHealthyVillage.org.