Erlanger Health System officials were set to announce today plans to open three new Erlanger Express Care locations in downtown Chattanooga, East Brainerd and Soddy-Daisy.
The Express Care facilities will be open seven days a week, with extended evening and weekend hours, to treat non-threatening illnesses, injuries, and other health needs - from cuts and colds to fractures, breaks and sprains - for both adults and children.
Each location will offer X-rays and prescription services. No appointments are needed at any of the three locations, and most major insurance plans are accepted.
"We are responding to the needs of the communities we serve by improving access to Erlanger's world-class health care services," reads a statement by Erlanger CEO Kevin Spiegel, adding "this link to a continuum of care differentiates these Erlanger Express Cares from other urgent care centers."
Matt Gibson, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Erlanger, said aside from creating more access points, the Express Care facilities are a way to educate and connect people to consistent primary care.
About half of the population that uses urgent care does not have a primary care physician, according to Gibson, but "the data is very clear" that having a regular primary care provider leads to better health.
"Nothing can and should replace your primary care relationship, and our primary care leadership has worked extensively with us on this strategy," he said. "Folks are using urgent cares - like it or not - and when it's not coordinated and linked to a health system, it results in fragmented care."
While anyone can visit the offices, patients within the Erlanger primary care network who visit the Express Cares will have their information shared with their primary provider, which can prevent wasteful spending on repeated tests and prescriptions, officials said.
Erlanger's Express Care addresses are 9448 Dayton Pike in Soddy-Daisy, 1653 Gunbarrel Road, and 325 Market St. in downtown Chattanooga.
The latest expansion is part of a partnership with Noon Development LLC, a Chattanooga-based development company.
Last fall, Erlanger announced plans for a new Express Care in Hayesville, North Carolina, in combination with a primary care practice. Both are expected to open this summer.
In August 2018, Erlanger opened a new primary care physician office in Soddy-Daisy, which now will have an Express Care added to that facility.
Contact Elizabeth Fite at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6673.