There are a lot of things in life that consistently test our patience. Attempting to schedule a doctor’s appointment is usually one of them. How many times have we called a primary care provider or OB/GYN, only to be told they’re booked solid for the next several months?
St. Mary, which falls under the umbrella of Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic, is looking to change this historically inefficient model of healthcare.
Recently, St. Mary Physicians Group announced the opening of St. Mary Health Feasterville – a one-stop care location, based at 178 W. Street Road, that provides the community with easy access to both St. Mary family doctors and specialists. The new facility is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with walk-in opportunities available during all business hours.
The Feasterville space, which officially opened its doors to the public on June 3, merged the three existing St. Mary primary care practices in Northampton, Southampton and Warminster into one. Not only are these providers now under one roof, they’re joined by specialty physicians who focus on cardiology, OB/GYN, orthopaedics and urology.
According to Kim Sudac, administrative director of ambulatory services for St. Mary, the purpose of St. Mary Health Feasterville is to provide better patient access. For example, if someone is there to see their primary care provider, they can also see a cardiologist or OB/GYN the same day.
“That’s our hope, is that we’re able to coordinate whatever the needs are to make it as patient-centric and convenient as possible,” she said.
Sudac explained how the walk-in option further enhances patient access, with a designated staff specifically there to meet the needs of these individuals.
“They can come in, no announced appointment and we’re able to service them on the weekends and evenings as well,” she said. “The advantage of the walk-in hours is that you’re being seen by your own primary care group. If not by you own primary care provider, at least with a nurse practitioner that’s within the network and has access to the same medical record, rather than going through an urgent care and having a disjointed recording of your records.”
Once all of the specialties move to Feasterville, which Sudac said should be completed by October, the facility will have 15 providers. At that point, she estimated that at least 200 patients will be served per day.
As far as the space, it features 26 exam rooms, three consultation rooms, a large conference area that’s utilized for diabetic and nutrition services, a cardiac testing area, two procedure rooms for OB/GYN and urology, and a team collaboration room in the rear of the building.
“We went outside the model of having separate physician offices,” Sudac said, adding how a patient’s primary care doctor will be in close proximity to their cardiologist and other specialty physicians. “This will lend itself to discussing patient care, what referrals need to take place.”
Also featured on-site is a large waiting area, x-rays, a financial counselor and surgical scheduler. Situated in the shopping plaza next to Giant Food Stores, there is ample, free parking.
John Caruso, president of medical group provider services for Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic, said the Feasterville spot was chosen for a number of reasons – its relative distance from both St. Mary Medical Center and Nazareth Hospital, its high visibility for patients, and the need for an all-encompassing healthcare facility in the area.
“The Feasterville location is really what’s the beginning of a long-term strategic plan. We started throwing the idea around about two years ago. We are acutely aware that healthcare is moving outside the walls of the hospital and into the community,” Caruso said. “It’s beneficial for the patient because they’re receiving the same type of testing they would at any hospital, but they’re receiving it closer to home and at a freestanding rate, which is more cost-effective for the patient. Ultimately, Trinity Mid-Atlantic is really looking to drive healthcare into the community rather than have the community come to the hospital.”
There are no definitive plans just yet for further expansions, but Caruso said he envisions one-stop hubs like St. Mary Health Feasterville popping up near other hospitals in the Trinity Mid-Atlantic network.
“We really see this as the future of medicine,” he said.
For more information, visit stmaryhealthcare.org/st-mary-health-feasterville or call 215-710-6490.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com