LEXINGTON (WSLS 10) - A new VelocityCare opened in Lexington this week after a Carilion health assessment found it was the number one health need in the community.
Doctors and nurses have already treated dozens of patients in less than two full shifts at the new center, but that comes as no surprise to Registered Nurse Karen Koch, the site supervisor.
"It's something that the people in this area have needed for a long time," Koch said.
Before opening, Koch says patients in Lexington would travel 45-minutes or more for urgent care.
She says local primary care doctors in Lexington are often booked, so they would be forced to send patients to the emergency room at Carilion Stone Wall Jackson hospital.
The emergency room quickly becomes overcrowded and too expensive, especially for patients who are underinsured and could receive treatment elsewhere.
"It gives them another opportunity to send their patients somewhere besides the emergency room where people can't afford that cost and maybe they would have stayed home when they should have seen a practitioner," Koch said.
VelocityCare Director Matt Lowery shows doctors and nurses can treat anything from a common cold to minor breaks or fractures. They even do x-rays and lab work.
Procedures there can be done with shorter wait times and at a much lower cost to patients.
Lowery says the need was found in Carilon's yearly health assessment.
"The health needs assessment that's done yearly in the area identified the need for urgent episodic care. It's been a strong need voiced by the community. Carilion felt it was a good initiative to respond to that need," Lowery said.
Velocitycare will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
To give feedback on what you feel your community's health needs are, click here.