New Valley Health urgent care center to open Wednesday

WINCHESTER — Valley Health System is opening a new urgent care center and family practice facility in Frederick County on Wednesday. The hospital system held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new building on Monday.

The new building, at Rutherford Crossing near Winchester, is the third urgent care facility that Valley Health has built in the past two years.

Valley Health CEO Mark Merrill said that the hospital system, like many across the country, has been building new urgent care centers in response to changes in how patients seek their care. People, especially younger people, don’t have the close relationship with a family doctor that they might have had years ago, he said.

“People want accessible, convenient health care after hours, and they’re not as wedded to going to the same practitioner,” Merrill said. “So we try to make it convenient.”

Merrill said that the hospital system has located the facilities at areas near where large numbers of people live and work.

The new Rutherford Crossing facility in Stephenson met those criteria, he said.

“They’re expanding dramatically up here at Snowden Bridge development,”   Merrill said. “Procter & Gamble and Amazon are building facilities up here, and so we know there will be a lot of people who will be going back and forth between this area and those for work. And so we thought this would be a commute location.”

The new facility looks like other Valley Health urgent care centers, Dean Kline, project manager at Valley Health, said.

“It is our corporate brand as far as the aesthetics of the building,” Kline said. “Basically, we’re duplicating the same look to brand Valley Health urgent cares.”

The urgent care center has five exam rooms and two occupational health rooms, where job applicants get tested for their physical ability to work. It also has a lab room, where doctors perform tests for strep throat and other diseases, and a critical care room for patients who have potentially had a heart attack or another, more serious disease.

Valley Health has gone about starting new urgent care centers by building them alongside family practice centers — a move that Jeff Feit, chief operating officer for Valley Physicians Enterprise, said helps improve communication between urgent care practitioners and family practice doctors.

The urgent care office and the family practice office “share not just an electronic record, where they can see each other’s notes, but they share a door,” Feit said.

That’s particularly helpful for patients who come into an urgent care center concerned about their immediate health needs but learn that they have chronic health problems, Feit said. An urgent care facility isn’t designed to treat people who need gradual, consistent care. But those people could receive care next door at the family practice facility.

Kline said that Valley Health started construction of the new facility in August 2016. They finished construction in September.

The 8,500-square-foot facility cost Valley Health $1.8 million in construction costs, Kline said. The total cost of the facility was $2.7 million.