Yes, county can sustain urgent care
Vital signs are strong for the proposed urgent care/primary care medical facility county commissioners have worked diligently to bring to Graham County.
That’s the conclusion of a report commissioners considered during a special meeting Monday night .
PDA, the firm hired to study the feasibility of an urgent care, recommends that county officials pursue discussions with a provider/company that currently serves patients from Graham County.
The report also recommends that Graham County offer incentives like rent deferral.
PDA suggests the county take a “fast track” approach and this timeline:
• Secure a provider, architect and engineers by May 13;
• Confirm budget by May 20;
• Select a contractor and obtain a building site by June 10;
• Approve final design by Sept. 23;
• Begin construction or renovation of an existing building on Oct. 24;
• Complete construction on Feb. 24, 2107 if commissioners choose renovation;
• Complete construction on May 26, 2017 if commissioners opt for a new building;
• Move in March 3, 2017 if renovation is chosen;
• Move in June 2, 2017 if the project is new construction.
PDA also recommended that Graham County officials begin looking for interim locations to start service and that they budget $40,000 to $50,000 to promote the new facility through billboards, fliers and other means.
The success of the project could hinge on who leads the effort. PDA recommends that Graham County dsignate a “county project developer, who can stay with project for 1-3 years.”
According to the report, the project will cost a little more than $1.1 million if new construction is chosen and nearly $900,000 if the decision is made to renovate Tallulah Clinic, Fort Hill or the Graham County Health Department.
The report outlines three possible scenarios for ownership and management;
• County owns the building, provides utilities and uses grant funds for improvements and equipment;
• County owns the building and contracts with a not-for-profit group organized by the county and contracts for professional services;
• 14-hour Telehealth backup for EMS with phone coverage after urgent care closes to relieve burden on EMS
Two potential partners were mentioned.
Snowbird Clinic, which is owned and operated by Cherokee Health and provides primary care, behavorial and dental health, is interested in relocating to Robbinsville.
Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers, based in Asheville, has approval to add a site in Graham County.