Clinics rise in popularity for non-emergency care

Health clinics are speedier and more cost-effective than hospitals, and their role in non-emergency care will grow substantially in the near future, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.

In Tulare County, Calif., for instance, clinic construction is on the rise, with Family Healthcare Network, Kaweah Delta Medical Center and Tulare Regional Medical Center among the local hospitals tied to new clinic projects. Specifically, according to the article:

  • Kaweah Delta, a 403-bed facility in Visalia, intends to open a chronic disease management clinic in May and an additional prompt-care clinic in the fall, as well as a rural clinic in nearby Dinuba;

  • Tulare Regional has opened a new clinic in the western part of the county and plans to open an additional one in Earlimart; and

  • Family Healthcare Network has opened its 13th health facility in the county along with an ongoing expansion project in downtown Visalia projected for completion in May.

The popularity of clinic projects in the area is largely cost-related, outgoing Tulare Regional CEO Shawn Bolouki told the Times-Delta. Emergency room costs mean that a treatment that costs $150 at a clinic could be up to $1,000 at a hospital. "A clinic can do the same thing with greater customer satisfaction at a fraction of the cost," Bolouki said.

One advantage of the proliferation of clinics is that clinics are a much better environment for educating patients on lifestyle choices that will reduce their risk of ending up in the hospital, according to the article. "We've [healthcare organizations] always been disease-focused," Henry Cisneros Jr., chief clinical officer for Family Healthcare Network, told the Times-Delta. "We need to be prevention-focused. This model takes us further into the community."

Despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many people who fall into the law's gaps, particularly in states that do not expand Medicaid, will continue to rely on community clinics for treatment, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the article