For Cartersville Medical Center CEO Chris Mosley, the hospital's planned Cartersville Urgent Care service is all about expanding access points for "convenient" local health care.
"Historically, you've had the hospital, and the hospital is static," he said at Tuesday afternoon's groundbreaking ceremony. "What we are seeing now, the model we are pursuing, is to go where people are, go where people in the community live and work, and we found this to be an ideal location for that."
Situated on a parcel of land along Main Street in between Starbucks and the Kroger Marketplace, the roughly 5,000-square-foot facility will house eight full-time and four part-time personnel, including three physicians and mid-level providers.
The medical center is partnering with SmartCare Medical Group, an Atlanta-based health care provider, for the project.
SmartCare Medical Group CEO Samir Bhatia said he anticipates construction taking about five to six months. Pending cooperative weather, he said he expects the new urgent care location to open in February.
"The building budget is somewhere around $700,000 for the construction," he said. "We were looking for land that was more accessible, and visibility was good."
The investment, Mosley said, is a reaction to Cartersville's rapid growth — both in terms of population and economics.
"For the first time, [we're] getting off our hospital campus and expanding our network, taking the Cartersville Medical Center brand to where people live and work and making access convenient and close to them where they're going to be on a daily basis," he said. "The daily operations of this are largely going to be an extension of our Cartersville Medical Center network, so we'll be able to access our network through this urgent care center and as they need follow-up, they'll be able to access the highly-trained specialists that we have within our network."
As for the scope of services planned at the new urgent care facility, Bhatia said it runs the gamut from flu and cold treatments to sports physicals.
In a way, he said the facility will serve as something of a "gatekeeper" for medical sub-specialties.
"We generally focus on minor emergencies, things you would not want to go to an E.R. for," he said. "Lacerations, broken bones ... we can stabilize those things just like an E.R., and if we need to transfer [you] to an E.R., at least this would be your first stop."
He said the facility will be open seven days a week, with services provided from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"We accept all major medical insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare governmental plans, as well as we have very effective self-pay rates," Bhatia said. "Basically, our rates would start at somewhere around $150 to see a doctor."
The new Cartersville urgent care site is but one of several developments in the works for SmartCare.
"Providing cost-effective health care solutions for the county is what this expansion is all about," Bhatia said. "Currently, we are adding a couple more sites in Floyd, as we expand, we are evaluating ... to add more sites in Bartow County as well as surrounding counties to feed into Bartow County."
As to whether Cartersville Medical Center has any plans to open additional urgent care services — both in Bartow and beyond — Mosley said hospital officials are "evaluating other opportunities as we speak."
But for the time being, he said CMC is focused squarely on its latest addition to the local community's health care infrastructure.
"It gives people a choice and it allows people to access our network," he said. "It allows people to stay here at home as opposed to making a choice to go somewhere else ... as things develop, we'll certainly make sure that we're keeping everybody posted."