The opening of a walk-in clinic in Knox may have increased immediate access to medical care for Starke County residents.
Dr. Majed Alhamwi with Integrity Medical Center says the clinic began operations about one month ago. The service is intended to give sick patients same-day access to medical care.
Alhamwi says it all comes down to improving accessibility.
“A lot of times patients call for a doctor’s appointment and it’s going to take them a week or two weeks to see their doctor,” says Alhamwi. “And by that time, they’re more sick and they’re probably going to end up in the emergency room.”
The walk-in clinic seeks to fill that gap, potentially lowering the expense of medical treatment to the patient. The practice in Knox may also fill the travel gap. It’s listed as the only walk-in clinic within a 20-mile radius.
Health education is considered a focus of the walk-in clinic. In rankings compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Starke County consistently ranks near the bottom of the state for health outcomes and other factors, though local community organizations are working to improve that standing.
Dr. Alhamwi says he provides medical service at the site, but so does Certified Nurse Practitioner Melissa Grcich. She has been a resident of Starke County for the past nine years, and says patients could experience benefits in other areas of medical treatment.
“So there are a lot of people going to the emergency room department to get treated for ear infections, upper respiratory, all that stuff because they can’t see their primary care provider right away,” says Grcich. “So the walk-in clinic opens that up so they can come to us instead of visiting the emergency room department and not utilizing that in the manner it’s not meant to be used for.”
Patients are able to access the walk-in clinic in Knox Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Alhamwi says that if a patient is experiencing symptoms the walk-in clinic is unable to treat, they are able to refer them to a specialist for additional care. The clinic is located at 2 S. Pearl Street in Knox.