A ribbon cutting Tuesday marked the official introduction of WorkSafe, a new era of occupational medicine ushered in by Sampson Regional Medical Center through an expansion project at the Clinton Urgent Care facility on Beaman Street.
The occ med program has been transformed by way of the renovation and expansion to allow employees in Sampson and surrounding counties to be promptly seen for physicals, drug screenings and work-related checkups in an area constructed exactly for that purpose — while not exposing them to sick patients using the adjoining urgent care facility.
Ground was broken at the beginning of this year for WorkSafe, which aims to offer more efficient service through added space on the existing building. Hospital officials said the expansion will allow quicker, more efficient patient treatment for both urgent care and occupational medicine patients, who will be seen through separate waiting areas to keep workers coming in for required tests and checkups away from sick urgent care patients.
Dr. Ron Krull, medical director for Clinton Urgent Care and medical resource officer for WorkSafe, said at Tuesday’s ceremony that more space will bring more opportunities for programs.
“With the additional space, it will allow us to do a lot more,” said Krull, who noted that will soon include the implementation of respiratory fit testing.
And there is a benefit to separating patients who are seeking two completely different types of medical service, he noted.
“This will allow us to separate the employment side of it from the urgent care side,” said Krull, who cited statistics that approximately $165 billion was lost last year due to employee sickness. “If we can get them in and out without them getting sick, that would be a big service. We’re very excited about having this addition here.”
The occupational medicine program has been offered at Clinton Urgent Care since 1999, with pre-employment physicals, drug screenings, worker’s compensation management and other checkups being conducted for employers through the small facility on Beaman Street.
While some of the services were already offered, the separation from urgent care patients was not.
Sampson Regional Medical Center CEO David Masterson said the project’s ultimate aim is to provide and prioritize care through two dedicated channels that will allow everyone coming to the facility to be seen in a timely manner. Masterson thanked various staff members, as well as those on the hospital’s Board of Trustees, for their dedication and foresight in seeing the project to fruition.
“They saw the wisdom of bringing Clinton Urgent Care within our system and quickly saw the need to separate our populations,” Masterson said of the trustees.
Through the expansion, what used to be office space within the urgent care facility was converted to a waiting room and triage area for WorkSafe. A large new addition was then tacked on to the building to accommodate patient treatment rooms and office space for WorkSafe, as well as a separate exit for occ med patients. That way, occ med patients come in one door and out another, offering a quick flow that never intersects with patients who may be seeking urgent care for illnesses.
“It’s really beautiful and a real asset to the community, especially local businesses and industries,” said Jeff Shipp, president of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce.
City Councilman Steve Stefanovich commended Masterson and other hospital officials with working toward adding yet another service along the Beaman Street corridor.
“You keep extending that medical mile,” said Stefanovich, “and we appreciate that.”
Linda McLamb, who has managed Clinton Urgent Care and coordinates the occupational medicine program, has said the addition to the existing building will decrease wait times for employees and new and seasonal hires, who have traditionally waited with other walk-ins. Previously, everyone coming into the Clinton Urgent Care facility — whether occupation-related or regarding urgent care — waited together and everything has been done on a walk-in basis.
By utilizing WorkSafe, and what it will be able to offer, companies are able to cut costs by having necessary evaluations for employees done locally, rather than employees being sent out of town for necessary screenings and pre-employment physicals while on the clock. WorkSafe also brings with it a more “personal touch” close to home, who is familiar with their place in the community and specific needs.
It is especially gratifying for those who have utilized the hospital’s occ med program for more than a decade and will now have news doors, literally and figuratively, opened to them. There are approximately 150 to 200 businesses and industries are being served through WorkSafe, many of which have been there for years.
“They’ve stayed here with us that entire time,” said McLamb. “This program was for them. We are so excited that it is finally complete.”
McLamb has informed local business and industry of the coming service for a long time now, and is glad to introduce it to those in the community.
“Now they can actually see what I’ve been promising,” she remarked. “This is to give them a designated area to come and get those needed tests or physicals, and we are so happy to have this for them.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.