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p12-Gateway-PhotoThe ribbon is cut on the new Gateway Urgent Care in Glen Carbon, which will officially open this month at 4273 S. State Route 159 in Glen Carbon.    Gateway Regional Medical Center is opening its new Gateway Urgent Care at 4273 S State Route 159 in Glen Carbon this month. The 4,000-square-foot medical center will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Urgent care centers are walk-in medical clinics that provide ambulatory care for a wide variety of ailments and injuries outside of a traditional emergency room. The concept started in the 1970s in the United States and has since grown to an estimated 10,000 or more across the country.
    “The trend nationwide is for medical treatment to be provided on an outpatient basis,” said Matt Blevins, GRMC’s chief operating officer. “Inpatient procedures and admissions will continue to decrease due to the advances in technology and surgery. An increased amount of procedures are done in an outpatient setting, typically resulting in quicker recovery times. As patient care continues to move toward outpatient settings, retail settings will become the focus for providing convenient care to patients at multiple access points. Urgent care centers are expected to become the trend in health care, allowing patients easier access to health care.”
    “The principle behind urgent care centers,” said Ed Cunningham, chief executive officer of GRMC, “is to bridge the gap between the traditional primary care physician and a hospital emergency room.” If the urgent care staff would determine that a patient is experiencing an emergency situation, the patient would be transferred immediately to an emergency department.
    Gateway Urgent Care will also house both digital X-ray imaging equipment and a lab for on-site testing.
    While GRMC is located in Granite City, it has been reaching out to provide health-care services to the broader community for some time. It provides primary care in Collinsville, Edwardsville, Troy and Wood River, in addition to both women’s health and orthopedics in Glen Carbon. A full range of specialties is offered at the Granite City campus as well.
    GRMC provides health-care services through its own network of providers, Gateway Medical Group. The network encompasses primary care, geriatric medicine, pain management, neurology, orthopedics, general and vascular surgery, women’s health, urology, urogynecology and psychiatry.
    While GRMC has been expanding its services into the community for years, it’s by no means done. “As we’ve always done, our organization is continuously researching and exploring opportunities to provide quality, convenient care for patients throughout our service area,” said Cunningham. “The urgent care is just one of the ways we’re able to provide services we’re able to offer to a broader community in a more convenient setting.”
    GRMC is continuing to run its 30 Minutes or Less ER Time pledge. “That means that, from the second a patient walks in the door and gets registered, they will typically be seen by a medical provider for an initial assessment within 30 minutes or less,” said Cunningham. “We’re fully intending on being able to implement that same pledge in our urgent care center. As we look at the future and adding other locations, that will be a consistent theme for us in all of our facilities.”