SCHENECTADY — Ellis Medicine wants to build a primary care/urgent care clinic in Mohawk Harbor, less than a mile from the Ellis Hospital Emergency Department.
The facility would total about 10,000 square feet and would include 14 exam rooms and small radiology and laboratory spaces. Ellis projects more than 21,000 patient visits in the first 12 months of operation and 27,400 in year three.
Ellis did not return calls seeking comment for this story, but some details of the proposal are contained in an application for a certificate of need filed Tuesday with the state Department of Health. The Health Department would have to approve the new clinic.
The clinic would cost $902,000 and would occupy rented space on the ground floor of 200 Harborside Drive, which is the newer of two new office buildings on the site and is dubbed 1 Harbor Center.
Construction of both office buildings is complete, except for landscaping and the interior configuration and finishing work that will be done to tenants’ specifications.
Clinics that offer urgent care and/or primary care have opened in profusion in recent years. As alternatives to hospital emergency rooms, they are often preferred by patients seeking faster and more convenient care. Insurers also see them as less-expensive health care options.
Ellis and other hospitals and medical groups have opened dozens of the clinics, many not far from hospitals.
Albany Medical Center last year opened one of its 10 EmUrgent Care facilities 1.6 miles southeast of Ellis Hospital, on Union Street. And at 115 Saratoga Road in Glenville, 2.9 miles north of Ellis Hospital, the two health care providers are neighbors: Ellis has a primary care office there, and Albany Med has another EmUrgent Care location.
The Mohawk Harbor clinic would be just 0.8 miles west of Ellis Hospital.
In its application to the state Department of Health, Ellis spells out the rationale for the nearby location:
Urgent care fulfills the patient’s desire for on-demand care, and Mohawk Harbor off Erie Boulevard is a convenient and accessible location to provide it. It will give patients another point of access to the health care system and help connect them to a primary care physician to better provide both ongoing management of chronic conditions and preventative health care.
The new clinic would address the shortage of primary care in Ellis’ primary service area, improving population health management and positioning the hospital to be paid by insurers for the value of care it provides, which is expected to be the future model of health care reimbursement.
This will save money, increase public access to preventive care and reduce unneeded visits to the emergency department, which is among the most expensive settings to deliver health care.
The clinic would be staffed by emergency medicine-trained advanced practitioners, and they would see patients who have or don’t have an established primary care physician of their own.
Ellis Medicine consists of Ellis Hospital, Bellevue Woman’s Center in Niskayuna and McClellan Street Health Center (the former St. Clare’s Hospital). It has one large satellite facility, the Medical Center of Clifton Park, a large medical arts building connected to Ellis Hospital, and a handful of smaller offices in Schenectady and Saratoga counties.