by Kalie Ammons
Don Barger and the folks at Wabash County Hospital have been working together to develop a facility to meet the demand for immediate care by patients whose conditions are not serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room.
“Your typical coughs, colds, flu symptoms, sprains, strains, burns if you have something in your eye, just whatever needs immediate care, but is not an emergency. If you have shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, chest pain, you know, you should still probably go to the emergency room. But if you sprained your ankle playing basketball or you just don’t feel well, then that’s what we’re there for,” Barger told The Paper.
QuickMed opened on Monday, Sept. 16 and is currently in the hospital, adjacent to the emergency room. However, Barger hinted at some plans to construct a new facility.
“We are also looking at some space offsite. We’re revising some floor plans and we would like to move offsite, probably the first of the year,” Barger explained.
The Wabash QuickMed will provide previously limited services in Wabash County. Community members will now have access to reliable, walk-in health care without having to maneuver around a family doctor’s schedule or drive out of town.
“QuickMed is going to be comprised of two different components, one being the occupational health component and one the walk-in clinic component,” Barger said. “I am hoping between the occupational health patients and the walk-in patients we see 20 patients a day. I think that would be reasonable. Twenty-five, I think, would be really good,” Barger predicted.
Barger ensured that the new QuickMed would be an advantageous addition to the community. Expanded occupational health clinic hours will make it easier for patients to schedule appointments around work, and immediate care will fix more medical issues here at home.
“It’s actually going to benefit both the employers in the community and the general public. As far as benefiting the employers, …we have the service, but we are expanding the hours. Before we were open 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, now we’re going to be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“As far as the community, we are going to be offering the walk-in clinic for those people who, number one, do not have a family doctor and need immediate care, or for some reason, the doctor’s office is closed, or they can’t get in that day. What we have found is people are tending to leave the community, and [they are] going somewhere else for that service. So now, that service will be available in town for them,” Barger said.
QuickMed was Wabash County Hospital’s idea and requires no outside sources or big businesses taking resources away from the community. It has already provided new jobs and will provide more when the new facility is finished.
Barger assured, “We are a service of the hospital, we’re all hospital employees, and so the hospital is behind this. It’s not like we’re some unknown entity or outside group coming into Wabash. We just want to make sure that we’re serving the community.”
The QuickMed has already hired two nurse practitioners and a certified medical assistant to help with the expanded hours.
“Once we move off-site, we will also then be hiring another registration person and two x-ray techs, because we’re going to be offering x-ray when we move offsite. But right now we can just use the hospital’s x-ray facility.”
The hospital is currently looking at a lease agreement for an off-site location. The new facility would expand the hospital by about 1,300 square feet, bringing the QuickMed from 700 square feet to about 2,000 square feet.
The current QuickMed has two examination rooms and a bathroom for drug testing. One examination room has a bed for nauseated and dizzy patients. The other is a standard examination room for minor injuries and illnesses.
All of the registration is done on computers to speed up the process and reduce errors.
The QuickMed will take various payment options.
“We’ll accept insurance, we will accept Medicare, Medicaid, and we will take self pays, but the expectation is that if you are self-pay, that you are going to pay at the time of service.”
Wabash is currently attractive for medical services, having the only hospital in the area. It is believed that the QuickMed will only add to this attraction and bring more business to Wabash, while still benefiting existing residents.
“I just think it’s a great opportunity for the hospital and for the community, you know, that the hospital’s stepping up and offering this service. I think that it’s going to be a win-win,” Barger said with a smile.