* This story originally appeared in The Budget’s Feb. 7, 2018 Local Edition.
By Stacey Carmany
It’s been nearly six months since the Union Hospital FirstCare Urgent Care Center reopened at its new location on the north side of Dover, and so far the feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive, according to hospital officials.
“We’ve got several months of experience behind us now, and the patients appear to really like the new facility, the modern setting, being able to be greeted at the reception desk upon arrival,” said Darrin Lautenschleger, director of community relations for Union Hospital.
Last fall, the hospital completed the move of its First- Care center from its former location on Oxford Avenue in Dover into the spacious, new UPS Family Health Center North building at 110 Dublin Drive, directly across from Dover Buehler’s.
The site is easily accessible from I-77, which was one of the main reasons for the move, according to Lautenschleger. “One of the biggest reasons for the move was to improve access and convenience from virtually any- where in Tuscarawas County,” he said.
In addition to offering more and larger patient exam rooms, the site also features a dedicated entrance leading directly into the reception area, an amenity that wasn’t available at FirstCare’s former location.
“At that location, because of the configuration of the facility, we didn’t have a staff member who was right there to greet you when you walked in,” Lautenschleger explained. “[Now], as soon as you enter through the main doors, the reception desk is right in front of you, and staff is there to greet you and start the process. I think that is one of the best patient enhancements that we offer at the new FirstCare location.”Urgent care centers like FirstCare are designed to serve patients with medical issues not severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room during times when their regular family physician is not available, according to Lautenschleger. “So, I’ve got an earache, for example. My family doctor might not be available. This would be the proper time to get into FirstCare, have that looked at, make sure everything’s okay, get the prescription I need so I can get on the path to getting well,” he explained.
FirstCare patients are seen on a walk-in basis, and no appointment is needed. The center is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on major holidays.
In addition to providing immediate medical care, the center also continues to offer physicals, laboratory testing and x-ray services, according to Lautenschleger.
Housed in the same building as FirstCare but with its own separate entrance is the UPS Family Health Center North family medical practice, also operated by Union Hospital. The practice is staffed by primary care physicians Dr. John Burnham, Dr. Kristi Leindecker, Dr. Spencer Pinion, and Dr. Deepthi Singam, and dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Moore.
Although it wasn’t a factor in the move, Lautenschleger noted that the arrangement does add another level of convenience for FirstCare patients who may utilize one of these doctors as their primary care physician. “If you’re a patient who utilized the urgent care, and then you need a follow-up, and your provider is right inside the building next door, that definitely is an enhancement and an advantage to you,” he said. “A lot of the healthcare services you need are right there in one building.”
Because of its convenient location, the UPS Family Health Center North is also being utilized more and more by the hospital for community health and wellness events, according to Lautenschleger.
For more about FirstCare, call 330-343-0753 or visit the FirstCare page on the hospital’s website.