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December 14th, 2018

xpress wellness liberalROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

Liberal’s 15th Street just west of the intersection of Kansas Avenue has several medical care facilities for both physical and mental ailments.

Among those are Brookdale Liberal Springs, the new VA clinic, Southwest Guidance Center and Southwest Medical Center, all within a radius of about two blocks.

Now, another facility will soon be added to that mix, this time between SWGC and the VA clinic.

Xpress Wellness Urgent Care is proud to announce its expansion of world-class urgent care centers to the Liberal community. The new urgent care center will be located at 445 W. 15th Street and expects to begin seeing patients in Spring 2019.

Xpress Wellness Chief Medical Officer Dr. Scott Williams said the location was a good one that went with the demographics the company is looking for.

“It’s just one of the places that made sense, plus there’s a need,” Williams said.

“We work with a site selection group,” Xpress Wellness President Brian Hayden said. “They’ve got a few locations in Liberal. We drove up there, checked it out and decided that was the right location for us.”

Williams said most of Xpress Wellness’ clinics employ around 10 people.

“That’s kind of a round number,” he said. “That varies a little bit based on the volume and the need.”

Williams said Xpress Wellness is set up to be cost-efficient emergency services for non-life threatening injuries and illnesses.

“Anything life threatening will need to go into the emergency room,” he said. “We’re very supportive of local health care. We want to be part of the solution there and utilize whatever specialists are in the community. We try to keep things local as best we can. We utilize emergency rooms for emergency services. Local imaging such as CT and MRI, we use the hospital for. If there are any kind of labs we need to get on a rapid basis, we utilize them as well.”

With Xpress Wellness being open later in the evening and on weekends, Williams said this increases the access and availability of local medical care. He further explained some of the problems the local urgent care facility can do for patients.

“Almost all things that are non-emergency such as chest pains, which may be cardiac or severe breathing problems, which may be something different, or stroke symptoms, the majority of things that we do are illness and injuries,” he said. “We take care of minor lacerations and minor fractures as well as illness.”

Williams said the new Xpress Wellness facility in Liberal is part of an expansion the company has going in rural Kansas and neighboring Oklahoma.

Hayden said most insurances are accepted, including Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and Tri-Care, as well as most of the commercial payers and the government payers. 

Hayden described the layout of the soon to be Liberal facility.

“We have five regular exam rooms,” he said. “We have a procedure room. We have an X-ray. We’re set up to do employer services like drug screens. We have restrooms set up specifically for that.”

Part of what brought Xpress Wellness to Liberal, Hayden said, is a nationwide trend of a lack of access to affordable high-quality health care.

“With the way we’re set up, we’re open seven days a week,” he said. “We’re 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 to 7 p.m. on Sunday. We really open up that ability for people in the area to have access to high-quality affordable health care options. Urgent cares are walk-in clinics.”

Hayden said with a lack of access, particularly after regular business hours, many people choose to go to an emergency room.

“What we’re there for is to provide that access when patients need the help for non-life-threatening type situations,” he said. “We see that in communities all across Oklahoma and Kansas. There’s a big need for that.”

With people going to the ER, those facilities become bogged down with episodic situations, in addition to more minor cases.

“They have no other place to go,” Hayden said. “It’s 8 at night. Johnny’s running a fever. We don’t know what’s wrong with him. There you go.”

Overall, Hayden said what is happening in health care is patients need to be in the right place for the type of medical problem they have.

“Primary care practices tend to be more of a scheduled appointment in taking care of a lot of chronic type situations,” he said. “ERs need to be for those truly emergent situations. Then we’ve got the stuff in the middle. It’s episodic. It’s acute, but it’s not life threatening. That’s where we fit into the spectrum of health care. We’re part of that solution where people can’t get to the right place that they need to be at.”

Xpress Wellness was started with its first clinic in March 2014 and now has 10 clinics total, nine in Oklahoma and one in Kansas, with Liberal to be the second clinic in Kansas.

With just less than five years under its belt, Hayden said Xpress Wellness is expanding rapidly.

“We’re launching on our second wave of growth and expect to open a lot more clinics in Oklahoma and Kansas,” he said. “We have a site selection group, and they are aggressively out looking around both states and looking for where there’s access issues and opportunities.” 

Hayden said he and Williams are excited about coming to Liberal.

“We’ve got bids out,” he said. “We’re getting ready to start construction. We look forward to being there and being of service to Liberal and the surrounding communities.”

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