WILMINGTON "“ ChristianaCare announced Friday, Jan. 10, that it was partnering with GoHealth Urgent Care, which will take over operations at its five medical aid units and open new locations throughout Delaware and the surrounding region.
GoHealth is a 7-year-old, Atlanta-headquartered network of urgent care centers that partners with large health care systems across the country. Today, it operates more than 140 centers, mainly in metropolitan areas like New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Portland, Oregon. GoHealth is backed by investments from TPG Growth, a middle market and growth equity investment firm that has more than $103 billion in assets under management.
In ChristianaCare, the state's largest private employer with a successful track record of growth, GoHealth found a partner much like it had with Northwell Health in New York, Dignity Health in California, Legacy Health in the Pacific Northwest, and Mercy in the Midwest.
"We are thrilled to partner with ChristianaCare to deliver seamless, personalized and deeply connected care to Delaware and surrounding communities," said Todd Latz, CEO of GoHealth Urgent Care, in a statement announcing the partnership. "We will set a new standard for on-demand care in the region, deliver value to consumers, employers and payers, and collaboratively champion population health initiatives and value-based care."
[caption id="attachment_172033" align="alignright" width="300"] The ChristianaCare medical aid unit in Glasgow will be among those operated by GoHealth Urgent Care under the agreement. DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
The partnership will see ChristianaCare turn over operations of its centers located at 550 S. College Ave. in Newark, 200 Hygeia Drive in Christiana, 2600 Glasgow Ave. in Glasgow, 124 Sleepy Hollow Drive in Middletown, and 100 S. Main St. in Smryna. Although the official announcement said that GoHealth would be building new urgent care centers in and around Delaware over the next several years, ChristianaCare spokesman Bill Schmitt told Delaware Business Times that it was too early to say what areas may be targeted for that growth.
"This partnership will advance our ability to make a positive impact on the health of every person in every community we serve by increasing access to high-quality, affordable urgent care services," said Dr. Janice E. Nevin, president and CEO of ChristianaCare, in a statement. "Partnering with GoHealth Urgent Care and leveraging its unique model, expertise and consumer focus enables us to offer greater convenience and provide the right care, at the right place and right time in the most cost-appropriate setting."
Urgent care centers have grown in numbers and usage in the past decade as health systems try to cost down on the cost of care "“ the number of urgent care centers grew 8% in 2018, according to an industry report. In Delaware, ChristianaCare is competing for patients visiting a number of other centers, including ExpressCare, which has six Delaware locations; MedExpress, which has four; and Got A Doc, which has five.
The centers are an alternative to costlier and more time-consuming visits to a hospital's emergency department for everyday illnesses and non-life-threatening injuries. Officials noted that the ChristianaCare-GoHealth Urgent Care centers will also have on-site laboratory and X- ray services.
Like ChristianaCare's current operations, patients will be able to walk in or go online to check wait times, pre-register and reserve their place in line under the GoHealth partnership. Patient visits are expected to average less than an hour, officials reported.
Schmitt, the ChristianaCare spokesman, confirmed that patients' electronic medical records will continue to be integrated into ChristianaCare's system following the turnover of operations to GoHealth. That will allow easy access to important records by ChristianaCare physicians and specialists should follow-up appointments be necessary after an initial visit to an urgent care center.
By Jacob Owens