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Photo by Dave Flessner / The Chatanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and staff of the Urgent Care for Children prepare to cut the ribbon Friday to open the company's newest clinic on Gunbarrel Road.

A growing physician-owned chain of pediatric urgent care clinics celebrated the opening of its second Chattanooga office on Friday, and the Alabama owners plan to return to Tennessee next week to open another clinic in Knoxville.

Urgent Care for Children, started four years ago in Birmingham, is now adding a new location nearly every week as the company seeks to become the No. 1 urgent care provider for children in the Southeast.

Each of the clinics is open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on holidays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to offer an after-hours extension of pediatric care for minor injuries or illnesses. Such care helps supplement local pediatrician treatments after hours and provides an alternative to more expensive hospital emergency room care.

"We work with local pediatric practices and don't try to compete with them, but we offer a more affordable after-hours treatment alternative to hospital ER visits," said Dr. Allury Arora, president and chief medical officer for Urgent Care for Children who co-founded the company in 2017 along with other Birmingham pediatricians.

The clinic includes an onsite laboratory, pharmacy and X-ray at each facility to help meet the needs of sick or injured children.

The newest location, next to the new Chipolte restaurant at 2122 Gunbarrel Road near Hamilton Place Mall, opened this week with an overall Chattanooga staff of about 30 full- and part-time workers, including pediatricians, nurses, X-ray technicians and other medical support staff.

Similar to the Hixson location that the company opened in March, the new clinic is designed to be visible and convenient as well as accessible and kid-friendly.

Urgent Care for Children is also one of the first sensory-inclusive urgent care facilities to accommodate children with special needs, its owners say.

"We continue to receive positive reviews from the parents of Hixson and expansion in the greater Chattanooga community is a fitting progression," Arora said. "We definitely want to be the leaders in the pediatric urgent care space in the Southeast."

As a physician-founded practice, Arora said the after-hours clinics work to complement, not compete, with pediatric practices and help limit the long hours and late-night calls often associated with such practices in the past.

"We really understand what the physicians in the pediatric community are looking for in serving the needs and affordability of their patients," she said. "Who wants to sit with their sick child who might have an earache for hours in the ER waiting area? Hospital ERs are made for handling traumas and major injuries where if you have a fever or an earache you can come to one of our walk-in clinics and get the care that you need."

Urgent Care for Children has nine clinics in Alabama and four in Tennessee. The new East Brainerd clinic, led by Dr. Margaret Armour-Jones, serves newborns through age 21.

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

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