Cullman Regional President/CEO James Clements and Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs
CULLMAN - Back in late January, Cullman Regional President/CEO James Clements announced plans for a new urgent care center. Today, that center is one step closer to reality. This afternoon, Clements and a host of other hospital and area leaders officially broke ground on the project.
The 10,770-square-foot facility will sit on the west side of the main hospital building, and is intended to ease the burden on Cullman Regional’s currently overcrowded emergency room, which typically operates at around 20-25 percent above intended capacity, according to the hospital.
“We have done community needs assessments,” said Cullman Regional Marketing and Public Relations Director Lindsey Dossey, “and we reviewed our ER visit data, and our emergency room is currently seeing over 45,000 patients a year. When we look at the volume, 20 percent of them really need to be treated in an urgent care. This will hopefully relieve some of the additional stress off of the emergency room, allowing more capacity for our emergent patients.
“It also will expand our outpatient imaging capabilities, and make it more accessible for people to come and have outpatient services, such as MRIs and CTs.”
The center will initially employ 12 staffers, expanding to 25 over the next two to three years. Its features include:
- Six examination rooms
- Minor procedure room
- MRI, CT, ultrasound and X-ray rooms
- Separate male and female dressing/waiting areas, in addition to the main waiting/reception area
- Nurses’ station
- Physician and nurse practitioner offices
Several officials pointed out that the Cullman Regional Urgent Care Center will be the only such center in the Cullman area that will see patients regardless of insurance or ability to pay.
“A lot of the reason patients come to the emergency room,” said Dossey, “is because they don’t have insurance and they’re unable to pay for care out of pocket.
“We’re just trying to improve access. That is one of the key issues in our community, that people need immediate access to care. That has been a consistent issue over the last six years, and we’re finally at a place where we can expand and meet the community’s needs. We’re just excited to be able to meet the community’s needs.”
Cullman Regional Board of Directors Chairman Todd McLeroy said, “I’ve been on the board of directors here for 10 years, and this is my fifth groundbreaking; and it’s the second in the last 90 days. We’re bucking the curve of hospitals nationally; we’re performing well. We’ve come a long way since I’ve been on the board, especially since James Clements became our CEO. The last two and a half years have been phenomenal. I’d like to think a lot of that is the staff and management here.”
Dossey says the new facility should be completed and open for business around the end of 2017 or early 2018.
Representatives from the Cullman Economic Development Agency, Cullman County Economic Development, the City of Cullman and the Cullman County Commission were among those taking part in the ceremony.
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