TWIN FALLS • When St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center opened an urgent care clinic in January, the plan was to start slow.
But more patients than expected — 20 to 60 per day — have come through the doors of the new Quick Care clinic.
“That really speaks to the fact that patients need to be able to get care,” said Dr. Steven Kohtz, a family medicine physician.
The Quick Care clinic opened Jan. 8. It’s located at St. Luke’s Medical Plaza in Twin Falls and is open seven days a week.
Kohtz said the clinic is an option for patients with acute conditions who can’t be seen right away at their usual clinic.
“We really want to stress that it won’t replace primary care physicians,” he said, adding that he believes the best care is provided by a doctor who knows their patient well.
Initially, there was a concern that the Quick Care clinic would drive patients from primary care physicians, Kuhtz said, but that hasn’t been the case.
He said the clinic is fulfilling a need. And in the midst of cold and flu season, the “floodgates really opened,” he said, as far as the number of people seeking care.
There are one or two family medicine physicians staffing the clinic at any time, as well as a physician’s assistant or nurse.
“There’s always a physician physically located at the clinic,” Kohtz said, and they’re immediately available to help with complex cases.
Health Care Needs Assessment
The idea to offer urgent care came up as a result of a needs assessment.
Kohtz — who is a member of the medical center’s primary care access task force — said St. Luke’s hired a company to complete an assessment in 2011.
It looked at the availability of urgent care, as well as access to all medical specialties in south-central Idaho.
“One of the really important takeaways on the primary care side was that when you combine family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine, we needed 25 more physicians in our eight-county region,” Kohtz said.
Also, the needs assessment looked at accessibility for patients needing same-day care.
“We weren’t really impressed with the results,” Kohtz said.
That led to conversations among the primary care access task force and ultimately, the Quick Care clinic. The decision to open the clinic came in spring 2012.
Other New Urgent Care Clinics
Over the past year, some other medical providers have also decided to start offering urgent care.
That’s in addition to those in the area that were already providing services, such as Physicians Immediate Care Center and Family Health Services.
Crosspointe Family Services started offering urgent care in July.
“I think that there was just a need,” office manager Nyla Jensen said.
The office — located on Falls Avenue near the College of Southern Idaho — functions as both a behavioral health and family medical clinic.
“We really are a one-stop shop in many ways,” Jensen said.
Hours at the clinic are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The office accepts walk-ins for urgent care. There’s a self-pay fee and a sliding fee schedule for those who don’t have insurance.
Since the office is located so close to CSI, Jensen said a goal is also to provide services to more students.
In Burley, River View Urgent Care and Medical Center opened in June.
It’s open seven days a week: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-7 p.m. Sunday.
“This will be perfect for the injured weekend warriors to come in and get some relief before they can get in to see their primary care physicians,” clinic manager Kyle James told the Times-News in April before the center opened.
The center — located on North Overland Avenue — offers services such as X-rays, fracture care, treatment for minor illnesses, health screenings, immunizations and laboratory services.