Doctors Care, P.A. (Doctors Care) and Palmetto Health, both headquartered in Columbia, have agreed to collaborate to provide patients with greater, seamless access to urgent care, including after hours and on weekends, throughout the Midlands.
The agreement builds on an existing strong relationship between the two health care organizations, and represents a sustained commitment to offer the best value, most comprehensive, and appropriate care for Midlands residents. The new relationship will extend to 14 existing Doctors Care locations in the Midlands region, and will complement the footprint of Palmetto Health.
“Our shared goal is to provide patients with the best option for their health care needs, whether that’s one of our urgent care centers, a medical home or a specialist at Palmetto Health,” said Curtis Franke, M.D., acting president and chief medical officer of Doctors Care.
The relationship between Palmetto Health and Doctors Care started in 2015 when Doctors Care became a member of the Palmetto Health Quality Collaborative (PHQC), the Palmetto Health clinically integrated network.
John Singerling, Palmetto Health President, added, “In our ongoing quest to improve the patient experience, we are excited to announce our expanded relationship with Doctors Care. We want to provide our patients with increased access to high-quality, affordable urgent care – when and where they need it. We believe this relationship helps us meet those needs. Our collaboration is complementary to and aligned with the excellent providers in Palmetto Health USC Medical Group and the Palmetto Health Quality Collaborative.”
The first phase of the collaboration will include the integration of electronic medical record systems and co-branding of the Midland region Doctors Care locations. The medical record integration will allow timely communication between the two organizations to help ensure a full continuum of care for patients. Doctors Care will assume operations of the Palmetto Health Urgent Care Center on the Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge campus. While the new arrangement involves medical records integration and co-branding, in Doctors Care offices, both entities remain as independent organizations.
Franke added, “Our urgent care centers offer patients the utmost convenience since we don’t require appointments and we’re open nights and weekends. We also recognize that Palmetto Health provides a level of specialized care that many of our urgent care patients need. This collaboration delivers the best of both worlds.”
The primary focus of the collaboration will be to help patients make wise decisions when choosing the most appropriate setting to seek medical care. An urgent care center provides a fast and affordable treatment option for patients who require non-life threatening care for illnesses like colds, the flu, or minor injuries. This network of access for walk-in service will help Palmetto Health decrease unnecessary visits to its emergency rooms, and provide patients an easier transition to specialty services. Both organizations will launch internal education campaigns and external communications to assist staff and patients when making decisions about where to seek treatment. The collaboration will begin immediately, and consumers can expect to see co-branded signage and materials in Doctors Care offices this spring.