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Contributed photo by Erlanger Health System / Erlanger will open its eight Express Care facility on Monday in Ooltewah at 5953 Elementary Way.

Erlanger Health System will open another urgent care facility on Monday as hospitals continue to move to provide more outpatient care in local clinics across the region.

The Erlanger Express Care at the White Oak Crossing at 5953 Elementary Way in Ooltewah is the newest walk-in medical care center to offer primary and emergency care seven days a week and most nights. The facility will be the eighth such urgent care facility Erlanger has opened in the past two and a half years in partnership with Noon Development.

CHI Memorial hospital also operates similar Convenient Care facilities at the Atrium on Gunbarrel Road in East Brainerd, which Noon also developed, and at the Publix Center on Mouse Creek Road in Cleveland, and in Lafayette, Georgia on Villanow Street.

"These urgent care facilities throughout the region aim to improve continuity of care for current and new Erlanger patients, and this Ooltewah location will help accomplish this effort," Erlanger CEO Will Jackson said earlier this year in an announcement about the new Ooltewah facility.

Developed in partnership with Noon Development, the Ooltewah Express Care will be one of five Erlanger urgent care centers in Hamilton County. Other Erlanger Express Care unit are located on Gunbarrel Road at the Erlanger East Hospital, downtown at the Chattanooga Lifestyle Center on Market Street, in Soddy-Daisy, and most recently in Hixson. Outside of Hamilton County, the Chattanooga-based health system operates Erlanger Express Care centers in Hayesville, N.C., Ringgold, Ga., and Cleveland, Tenn.

Each facility offers walk-in physician care for non-life threatening illnesses, injuries and other healthcare needs from cuts and colds to fractures, breaks and sprains. Erlanger Express Care offers x-rays and prescription services for adults and children over the age of two, along with telehealth visits, allowing patients to receive care from a provider via secure videoconferencing.

Erlanger Express Care clinics are the only walk-in urgent care clinics in the area to achieve accreditation through the Urgent Care Association (UCA), according to Erlanger spokeswoman Kelley Blaine.

UCA estimates that the number of emergency or urgent care clinics across the country grew last year by 9.6% to 9,616 units and many more are being built this year.

Matt Gibson, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Erlanger, said the urgent care centers offer an alternative to hospital emergency rooms for minor accidents or illnesses and help serve the population that does not have a primary care physician.

CHI Memorial opened its first Convenient Care in Cleveland in 2014, then followed by LaFayette in 2017 and the Atrium location in 2018. CHI Memorial is not planning additional Convenient Care units at this time, according to hospital vice president Lisa McCluskey.

"We recognize that we all have busy schedules that can make it difficult to get to a doctor's office during normal business hours," McCluskey said. "From sinus infections and earaches to strep throat and flu, our staff will provide convenient, walk-in high-quality care."

McCluskey said CHI's Convenient Care centers are distinguished from most traditional urgent care centers in that such clinics charge a primary care co-pay, a less expensive alternative to emergency departments and most traditional urgent care.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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