Admissions at Bay Medical Center's emergency room are down according to the Bay County health department. Officials partially attribute this to the health department's after hours clinic, which just went operational last year.
Now the health department is looking to cut down on those numbers even more. The after hours clinic was created to help people with no insurance or low income access services. Their success there has them thinking of expansion.
"Several years ago, we wrote a grant and received the first funding on the grant for an ER diversion," said Health Department Director Doug Kent.
He says it's a service that the area needs.
"About 60 percent of the visits that occur in an emergency room qualify as a non ER visit," Kent said.
Kent says this can drain resources and impact the quality of care. With grant in hand, they looked with to the CRA and the AD Harris Learning Village.
"It's exciting to see some re-purposing of this facility in a way that can benefit the community for years to come," said CRA Director William Whitson.
Whitson says since they obtained the Learning Village in October, the goal has been to provide services that would benefit the community. In this case, a proposed health clinic. The clinic would be housed in two classrooms at the AD Harris learning village. Those classrooms total about 1,600 square feet.
"We're gonna have it fully equipped, ready to go, it's gonna have four exam rooms," Kent said
Aside from removing the burden from hospitals, the hope is that the low income and the working poor will benefit.
"They may not have health insurance, and it gives them the opportunity to visit a physician and go back to work the next day," Kent said.
As for the learning village, Whitson says along with the clinic there is more to come.
"I would ask for people's understanding and cooperation and patience," Whitson said. "We're gonna make some headway."