ICHS Opens an After Hours Clinic in South Seattle
As of last month, ICHS has newly opened its After Hours Clinic from 5 p.m. through 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday at the Holly Park Clinic. The After Hours Clinic was born out of a need to serve patients outside of clinic hours to address acute care needs that are not chronic care issues but also do not warrant an ER trip. The clinic treats patients of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of insurance or immigration status.
Starting in January 2022 there has been an increase in the number of ICHS patients seeking after-hours services, most often treatment for pain, COVID-19 symptoms, and mental health issues. In April 2022, a total of 936 ICHS patients accessed after-hours services– 43% were patients in the Holly Park service area. Through the After Hours Clinic, ICHS patients and community members who are not ICHS patients have 20 additional hours per week for medical services, allowing greater ease for walk-ins who lack transport or flexibility during weekdays.
Additionally, the after hours clinic offers an option for ICHS patients who would otherwise have to rely on more expensive inpatient and emergency care for non-emergency treatment. Prior to the opening of the After Hours Clinic, the closest ERs to the Holly Park Clinic were Valley Medical Center and Swedish First Hill, each of which is about twenty minutes away by car and an hour away by public transit from the Holly Park Clinic.
“Last year, one of our patients was very ill [and] was unable to get a COVID test at home. … She had many comorbidities that would have put her at risk, but she was unable to get an appointment inside of the weekday window,” said Dr. Beth Weitensteiner, ICHS Associate Chief Medical Officer and long-time Family Physician at Holly Park. “If [the After Hours Clinic] had been open, her family member could have come home from work, driven her, and we could have alleviate her symptoms.”
This particular patient could have received Paxlovid had she come in earlier, and while she has since recovered she was ultimately sick for a month and a half. The After Hours Clinic was created with patients like her in mind–particularly as the need for services in the pandemic has increased heavily. And the clinic is prepared to tackle just such cases: the facility allows for testing in their parking lot and hosts two negative pressure rooms, which serve to prevent airspace contamination between patients with airborne illnesses.
The clinic additionally addresses cold and flu symptoms, fevers, earaches, sinus infections, rashes, UTIs, STIs, sprains, fractures, gastrointestinal issues, cuts needing stitches, and more. In treating these acute illnesses and injuries, ICHS hopes to limit the number of cases that seek help from an emergency room instead — allowing faster patient turnover across medical services.
“We just had a little guy come in on our first day with vomiting, and so we were able to prescribe an anti-vomiting medicine for him that they were able to fill at an outside pharmacy, and he's all better now,” Dr. Beth said. “If I come in expecting to be seen at 6 p.m. and I don't get seen at 6 p.m., that's okay. You're still going to get seen.”
Dr. Beth Weitensteiner, ICHS Associate Chief Medical Officer
Illnesses never come at a specific time of the day that is convenient. They don't happen from eight to five. Your child gets sick, your child starts vomiting, your child has a fever, and you need to be able to get those questions asked and answered, or your child needs to be seen or you need to be seen.
Visit the After Hours Clinic between 5 p.m and 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday at the Holly Park Clinic, 3815 S Othello St, Seattle, WA 98118. For more information or to talk to the After Hours Clinic team, call (206) 584-2586.