Solano County’s first retail-based urgent care clinic opened in the Nut Tree Plaza in January, to a packed house of VIPs—NorthBay Healthcare leaders, board members, civic leaders and lawmakers—just hours before the first patient walked through the front door.
An affordable and convenient alternative to the hospital emergency room, NorthBay Urgent Care occupies 4,000 square feet in the buildings adjacent to the vintage Nut Tree train and carousel.
NorthBay Healthcare has partnered with Direct Urgent Care, a pioneer in operating high-tech, patient-centric urgent care centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together they offer an improved consumer experience through a service-based, retail location, offering accessible, high-quality, affordable care.
“Being in a retail shopping area is the future of medicine.”
NorthBay emergency physician and Direct Urgent Care co-founder Caesar Djavaherian, M.D., explained the reason for the venture into retail medicine. “This is what it’s all about,” he told the crowd as he lifted his cell phone: “It’s the remote control of your life.”
He explained that appointments at the new center can be easily booked on a smart phone and that the staff is all about handling patients efficiently and effectively.
The center features onsite X-ray, laboratory, some pharmacy services and accelerated test results within minutes. Expectations are 30 to 40 patients per day will be seen for low-acute illnesses—flu, fevers, sprains, cuts, broken bones, sports injuries, ear aches and other childhood maladies. “We will provide care for people of all ages, extending NorthBay’s standard for quality of care, delivered by a team of ER-trained clinicians,” said B. Konard Jones, president and CEO of NorthBay Healthcare.
Online reservations will be available with a “virtual queue” to help minimize wait times. Walk-in patients can “save my spot” and are sent a text message when a treatment room and health care provider is available.
Direct Urgent Care operates similar high-tech, patient-centric centers in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Mountain View, all in or near retail centers.
“As the only community-based, locally managed, nonprofit health care system, we strive to fill the gaps in local services that people need,” noted Aimee Brewer, president of NorthBay Healthcare Group, the division that operates the two local hospitals and an array of outpatient services. “Convenient and affordable urgent care for anyone who needs it is an asset to our community.”
Wayne Gietz, vice president of Ambulatory Services, said retail medicine achieves two critical goals for North- Bay Healthcare. The first is it eases pressure on overburdened Emergency Departments, thereby reducing waiting times for patients who need emergent care. It also introduces more of the community to the NorthBay Healthcare system and the compassionate care, advanced medicine, close to home experience that it delivers.
“Being in a retail shopping area is the future of medicine,” Dr. Djavaherian noted. “It is not fair for people to have to wait a week or more to be seen by their doctors when they are feeling sick today. We are now the same-day provider in our community.”
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 1661 E. Monte Vista Ave., the facility will accept most major insurance plans.