Children brought their teddy bears to Thursday’s Cullman Regional Urgent Care and Imaging Center open house. The bears received “checkups” from Urgent Care staff. (Nick Griffin)
CULLMAN – Cullman Regional celebrated its new Urgent Care and Imaging Center Thursday afternoon with an open house event for the public. The new urgent care center is the only one in the area that will care for patients regardless of insurance or ability to pay.
On Thursday, guests enjoyed free T-shirts, refreshments, screenings and a tour of the new facility. For the kids, the urgent care staff was on-hand for Teddy Bear Checkups. Children that came out for the celebration were invited to bring their favorite teddy bear, stuffed animal or doll to for a free “checkup.”
Cullman Regional’s Vice President, Business Development & Outreach, Lindsey Dossey, is ready for the facility to open for patients on June 5, but really wanted Thursday’s open house to be a fun day for everyone.
“We just want this to be a fun day. The facility doesn’t actually open for patients until next Tuesday, so we wanted the community to feel like they could come in and take a tour and really get acquainted with our staff in the facility,” Dossey said. “We wanted to make it fun, so we have giveaways for kids and a free Kona Ice for everybody because it’s hot and who doesn’t like shaved ice? We have Teddy Bear Checkups for the kids because going to the doctor can be scary for kids, so we wanted it to be something they could do for fun with their favorite stuffed animal so if they every have to go back, their worries are gone, and they feel comfortable.”
One of the facility’s new features will be an online check-in service that will activate as soon as the Urgent Care opens on June 5.
“We’re telling everybody about probably my favorite feature which is our online check-in. It will go live when we open on Tuesday and it will actually allow our community members to go onto our website and if you wake up in the middle of the night and you’re not feeling good or if you wake up that morning and you call your doctors office and you’re not able to get an appointment, you can go online and see what’s the next available time slot. It might say 11 and you can select that time and it will hold your spot in line so that you can wait from home until that 11 slot,” Dossey said. “When people don’t feel good, they don’t want to sit around in a waiting room; it’s always more convenient to wait at home. So, that is one of my favorite features, and we’re telling everyone about that. Again, making it more accessible to consumers for when they need healthcare.”
Dossey continued, touching on some of the new features inside the facility to make things faster and more comfortable for patients.
“We also have our outpatient Imaging Center. We actually have a 128-slice CT which is by far superior to what we have in the hospital. We also have an MRI that’s 1.5T and it’s oval-bore so it’s less claustrophobic for anyone that is uncomfortable with that. In our imaging facility, in the CT and MRI, we actually have windows to make it feel less claustrophobic and you can see the natural light coming through which I find very appealing,” Dossey said. “We’re just really excited; we also have X-ray here and a small procedure room so if someone comes in and needs stitches or a cast or anything before they can get to see a physician we can do that here as well.”
Dossey and Cullman Regional have known about the need for an urgent care facility for a long time and she is excited to finally see the project come to fruition.
“We do a community health needs assessment every three years, and every year since I’ve been here, I’ve been here since 2007, the community says, ‘We need better access to care when we’re sick.’ So, we’ve really known for a long time that we needed more primary care for people when they’re sick,” Dossey said. “We know that our ER is over-utilized for primary care. We see 50,000 visits a year in our ER, and it was built for 35,000. We know that people need to have access to care, so about a year and a half ago when we were able, we knew this was something that needed to happen. That’s when we started moving ahead and we couldn’t be more excited to have it here. We think the community is going to love it.”
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