Something new is coming to the local Children’s Mercy Hospital clinic this September.
An urgent care clinic, which will be accessible on the weekends, is scheduled to open this month at the clinic, which is located on the back side of Geary Community Hospital.
Dr. Holly Austin will travel to Junction City on the weekends to staff it.
According to Austin, an urgent care has been part of the plans for the local CMH clinic all along. When the clinic opened in March of 2018, it was expected to host telemedicine specialty clinics and eventually open an urgent care when they found sufficient staff, she said.
The new urgent care will “support the local doctors that are already in the community by offering services to their patients when their offices aren’t open,” Austin said.
The urgent care can be accessed by any child up to the age of 18 who needs it on the weekend.
“Our scope of care will include simple ear infections and fevers, and strep throat and influenza, but will also include minor accidents and broken bones,” Austin said. “We’ll be able to sew lacerations, we’ll be able to give IV fluids for dehydrated kids. So this is only for children up to the age of 18, but it will be open to anyone who chooses to access the facility and we do not have any specific insurance restrictions or anything like that.”
In other words, a child doesn’t need to be a regular CMH patient to take advantage of this new service.
The new urgent care clinic is not an emergency department.
“If anyone presents with items that are outside our scope of care — like severe allergic reactions or multiple trauma or things like that — we will transfer them to the emergency department at Geary County,” Austin said. “We’ve already been in discussions with their emergency department for the best way to handle those kids.”
She said GCH had agreed to help provide lab and x-ray services.
“They’ve just been super in helping us work through the process to do that,” Austin said. “I’d really like to give some kudos to (CEO) Joe Stratton and the whole (GCH) community, because they’ve been very welcoming.”
Austin looks forward to interacting with the community and learning more about Junction City’s people. She said she and her husband are interested in eventually retiring in this area.
“I’ve been working in urgent care in Kansas City for seven years and before that, I was in private practice for a number of years,” she said. “What I find is that, even in urgent care, you do get to know families a little bit and see the same kids on multiple occasions. And that’s what I really like, just kind of becoming a part of the community and getting to know people on a more personal level.”
The new clinic will be open from noon until 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Eventually, Austin said, she would like to see the clinic expand to be open on weekdays.
“The longterm goal is that, as we get busy, enough, that we will open during the week,” she said.