ANC Committee Gives Green Light to Eastern Market Urgent Care Center
Medstar Facility Likely to Open this Fall
by Larry Janezich
Last night, Bob Gilbert, President of Medstar Ambulatory Services, appeared before Chair Francis Campbell’s ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee to present the case supporting a certificate of need for an urgent care and primary care facility across the street from Eastern Market. The remarks were warmly received by the committee which subsequently voted to enthusiastically endorse the proposal. The committee recommendation will go to the full ANC next Tuesday, where it will undoubtedly be endorsed by that body. Depending on variables involving the approval by the DC Department of Health and the city’s permit process, the facility could be in operation by the fall of 2013. Medstar officials expressed the hope it could open by the end of September.
Medstar plans two facilities with separate entrances on the first floor of the Home Care and Hospice Association Building at 228 7th Street, SE; a primary care facility, open 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, and an urgent care center, open 8:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday and 8:00am to 4:00pm weekends and holidays.
The 5,500 square feet on the building’s first floor will be restructured into 12 examination rooms, a waiting room, a staff support space, an x-ray room and 3-4 bathrooms. The two facilities will share some of the same work space.
Medstar officials said the offices will be designed as a neighborhood center, and said that “most insurance plans” will be accepted. Gilbert noted that the average visit to a Medstar center runs $200 while an emergency room visit costs $1500. The office will be related to but entirely separate from the Medstar Primary Care Physicians located at 660 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
Residents whose properties are in close proximity to the building were on hand to express concern about deliveries and trash pickup and how these issues might affect them. They seemed reassured by the level of accommodation voiced by Medstar officials, but since – in the words of one neighbor “we had our fingers blistered” by the Hine development – they were taking nothing for granted.
Medstar is a $4 billion not-for-profit regional healthcare system with ten hospitals and a comprehensive network of outpatient centers serving Maryland and Washington, DC. They see a current need for access to primary care and estimate that a shortage of up to 40 primary care physicians currently exists in the downtown DC area. Medstar provides more than 30% of the inpatient healthcare in the DC market and is the largest provider of care in DC.