With the recent growth spurt of urgent care centers in the Springfield market, the days of ill patients waiting a seemingly interminable amount of time in doctor’s offices might become a thing of the past.
At least that’s part of the intent for newer centers, such as the Mercy-GoHealth Urgent Care clinics that opened earlier this month. In the case of both, the centers at Battlefield Market Place, 900 E. Battlefield Road, and Magers Crossing, 2150 W. Republic Road, convenience for patients extends beyond the medical treatment options. The centers are located in high-traffic shopping centers that include dining, shopping and exercise options – all within a short walking distance. At Magers Crossing, for instance, the clinic is sandwiched between Great American Taco Co. and Glam Boutique Nail Salon.
While one could get vaccinated, participate in a yoga class and grab a meal afterwards without having to get back in their vehicle on any given day, the primary concern for Mercy and GoHealth when developing the centers was finding popular growth areas in town, said Dr. Robert Cavagnol, chief physician officer for Mercy Hospital Springfield.
“I don’t think we specifically targeted that,” Cavagnol said, regarding the other amenities contained within the shopping centers.
Rather, he said leaders targeted easily accessible sites with a lot of people working in the vicinity.
The two Springfield clinics between Mercy and GoHealth Urgent Care are the first of multiple centers that will open this year in the Midwest. Additional locations in Mercy’s markets, including the St. Louis area, Oklahoma City and northwest Arkansas, are set to roll out as early as summer, according to those involved in the Mercy-GoHealth collaboration.
Although Mercy considered other companies for partnership on the new clinic model, discussions were most fruitful with Atlanta-based GoHealth – a process Cavagnol said extended for more than a year. He said the urgent care provider, which operates more than 80 centers on the East and West coasts, conducted a needs assessment of the Springfield community. GoHealth identified a half-dozen “hot spots” in town, Cavagnol said, eventually leading to the selections on East Battlefield Road and West Republic Road.
“They were very strategic in that process,” he said. “It was a very analytical process.”
GoHealth creates the physical space for the center, including the outline and design, as well as providing clerical and support staff, Cavagnol said. The health care providers and nurse practitioners are all Mercy personnel, he added.
Both Mercy and CoxHealth have offered urgent care clinics in their health systems for years, but with the newly opened Mercy-GoHealth centers, each now has alternate options for providing patient care.
CoxHealth first entered the retail-based clinic market in March 2009, reaching a total of five clinics in Ozarks-area Walmart stores by July 2011. All continue to operate staffed by CoxHealth employees, said David Taylor, corporate vice president at CoxHealth. An additional walk-in clinic, Hy-Vee Quick Care, opened in early 2016.
Taylor said CoxHealth needed to look into the retail market to improve access for patients and price points. He said the health system had strong physician support, which was vital.
“We wanted to be in Walmart, the big box, high volume and high visibility,” he said, adding the one-stop shopping convenience was also critical for locating inside Hy-Vee.
The convenience factor is enhanced, Taylor said, by those utilizing Save My Spot, a newer CoxHealth service allowing a patient to select a location and time, fill out a an online form and wait from home until the appointment, bypassing the waiting room altogether.
No additional retail-based urgent care clinics are currently in the plans, Taylor said, adding there’s “seemingly been a demand for anything that patients want now.”
“I want it when I want it. It’s the whole concept of in-demand,” he said.
Aside from Walmart and Hy-Vee, CVS Health also offers retail-based walk-in clinics in Springfield, with four locations. Called MinuteClinics, the facilities located in CVS stores are staffed by nurse practitioners to provide family health care. They’re open seven days a week with no appointments necessary.
Although Walgreens, another national retail pharmacy chain, operates several health care clinics in Missouri, none are located in the Springfield area, according to the company website.
“The goal is to make it optimal for patients,” Mercy’s Cavagnol said.
Locating in existing shopping centers was one of those considerations, he said, as constructing new buildings ties up a lot of money in brick and mortar.
“We always want to be good stewards,” he said.
With the two centers in Springfield opening within days of each other this month, Cavagnol said Mercy intends to be intentional about any future locations opening locally. He said any additional centers would be considered only after studying the success of the existing ones for patients and staff alike.
“We’re interested in learning from GoHealth,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a great partnership.
“This is to supplement, not replace, what we already have,” Cavagnol said.
Planet Fitness franchisee PF Arkansas LLC opened its third Springfield club; Leggett & Platt completed a $1.3 billion acquisition; and New Covenant Academy started classes at its new Liberty Campus.
Scott Opfer, President of Opfer Communications, says there’s a myth that getting your product placed in a retail store will lead to success. “And the reality of it is, if you don’t sell through …
Terry Bloodworth, owner and operator of Springfield Hot Glass Studio, says you need to trust in your strengths as a business owner, but don’t be too proud to accept help when you need it. …
Mickey Moore, CEO of Tomo Drug Testing, discusses some effects of the company’s growth that have been simultaneously encouraging and challenging. Moore says in a growing company, you have to learn …
“So what we have discovered is that workforce development has quickly become economic development, and so in order to continue the growth that Branson has seen, we need a strong, skilled …
“The thing I think you need recognize is that, just because you may not have fifteen or twenty or thirty years of experience, don’t be intimidated by that,”says Jason Gage, City Manager for the …
“He’s just a really innovative thinker; he’s a creative guy. He developed the Murney blog and he just kind of has a refreshing approach to the whole idea of marketing a business,” says Tyler …
With up to five generations working together from the legacy Senior to eager GenZ, from lingering Boomer and anxious Millennial and forgotten GenX quietly sitting in the middle, conflicts will arise. …
“Ready. Set. Give.” is a seven-part series that helps companies create a culture of giving. “Well, a simple idea is for a company to do something like ‘blue jeans day,’ …
“Move three for every thirty is about moving just three minutes every thirty minutes throughout your day. So it’s not a lot of activity, it doesn’t have to be something very intense, but just …
Debra Horn, Senior Associate with BKD, LLP, says there are a few simple hacks to help you simplify the number crunching for your business. Make sure your business has its own separate account, this …