Chicago-based Swedish Covenant Hospital is expanding its Immediate Care Center program, joining a growing list of hospitals investing in urgent-care operations.
The hospital opened its first Immediate Care Center in Chicago's Sauganash neighborhood in June, and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a second location in the city's North Center neighborhood last week. Swedish Covenant's centers will have on-site X-rays and laboratory services; offer vaccinations and school physicals; and treat the common ailments and injuries that urgent-care centers often see.
The hospital also hopes to add specialty services such as orthopedics and have subspecialists regularly rotate through the facilities. The Immediate Care Centers' services are similar to urgent-care facilities, but are billed as Swedish Covenant Hospital outpatient locations instead of urgent-care centers, according to the hospital.
The use of the term “immediate care” among Illinois urgent-care providers stems from a recently repealed regulation that allowed only emergency departments to use “urgent” in their name.
For Swedish Covenant and other hospitals, the outpatient facilities present an opportunity for hospitals to expand their markets, while also providing increased brand visibility. The hospital's Sauganash center is already halfway to reaching its projected volume of about 50 visits per day, said CEO Mark Newton.
“I don't view this as (just) episodic one-time care,” Newton said. “You don't just come in and get your cut taken care of. We're really interested in establishing ongoing relationships with individuals in these targeted communities.”