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Acute After-Hours Clinic Opens in West Houston

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Five Medical Facilities Partner to Expand Walk-in Services During Evening Hours
Patients in Katy and West Houston who have limited access to health care will soon have new opportunities to receive acute care and, ultimately, to find a medical home. The Acute After-Hours Clinic project will expand walk-in hours for acute care services to include Monday through Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. at Christ Clinic, 5504 1st St, Katy, TX 77493.     The expanded hours are the result of a partnership of five medical facilities working together as part of a group called the Katy Collaborative. The project was initiated by Kara Hill, Executive Director, at Christ Clinic in Katy, a non-profit community clinic that serves the uninsured and those without governmental assistance. “It’s a privilege to work in the Katy community and see all the safety net providers come together and work collaboratively for those in need in our area,” said Hill. “We all share the same goal, for the right patients to be seen at the right place at the right time.”
     Christ Clinic will serve a pivotal role in connecting patients to appropriate care, along with its four partners: Houston Methodist West Hospital, Memorial Hermann Hospital System, Spring Branch Community Health Center, and Access Health (formerly Ft. Bend Family Health).
     The process typically begins when an uninsured patient contacts one of the Katy Collaborative’s two partner hospitals in the area. These hospitals will divert patients from the ERs to the Acute After-Hours Clinic that will provide episodic care. Once at the clinic, patients will meet with a care coordinator who will make certain they receive immediate care, and then schedule a follow-up appointment: Spring Branch Community Health Center, Access Health (formerly Ft. Bend Family Health), and Christ Clinic all serve as primary medical homes for this population.
     This system is designed to see patients at a location close to their home, at lower costs, and during the evening hours that tend to be better suited to the patients’ schedules. The availability of late afternoon and evening hours will help the many individuals and families who work daytime shifts, to access care during the evening hours when they are better able to get there. Many of these people who rely on lower-cost medical services have work schedules that make it difficult to see a doctor during traditional office hours. Ultimately, people will be better able to access preventive care.
     The Alliance’s Community Clinics Funders' Collaborative (CCFC) has helped facilitate the program’s set up, operations and oversight, including a sponsored program evaluation. The CCFC also is providing a portion of the Acute After-Hours Clinic’s start-up costs. The two hospitals are contributing additional support through in-kind funding.
     This relatively small investment is expected to see huge returns between September 2014 and August 2015. The community clinics anticipate serving an additional 2,000 patients in the next 12 months, with 40% of those patients finding primary care medical homes, and 20% enrolling in health coverage.  This is a win-win for everyone—especially the patients who gain immediate care and also find a primary medical home.