Cottage Health is unveiling its newest facility on Tuesday and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Located at Hollister Village in Goleta, the Cottage Urgent Care Center will give a majority of people a new access point to receive healthcare in an efficient and timely manner.
“It was very intentional to pick this location. We really wanted to meet people where they’re going about their daily business. Instead of having to come find us when they need healthcare, we’re here for them and we’re excited to be kind in the middle of the action,” Taryn O’Connell, the administrative director of urgent care operations, told the News-Press during an open house Saturday.
“This area (Goleta) is growing a lot year over year, so there are a lot of people to serve and we are here for the community.”
The new Cottage Urgent Care Center is the first of 10 locations Cottage is hoping to unveil in the Tri-county Region from San Luis Obispo to Camarillo. According to Ms. O’Connell, Cottage hopes to unveil all 10 sites as early as the end of this year or early 2021.
One of the best things about the new urgent care in Goleta is that it will try to see patients in a very quick fashion, aiming to provide complete care within 30 minutes for patients who are 6 months or older.
“Our main goal is just to provide an additional access point for healthcare, trying to meet a little bit of a different need with our really kind of consumer driven focus and so we hope that people who do develop those just minor inconveniences strep throat, UTI’s, or influenza can come in and get treated really quick and efficiently,” Ms. O’Connell said.
While the site will be able to provide support, it is not an emergency room, as such if someone has a major injury or ailment, they should still go to a hospital.
“We actually are a nurse practitioner model and our nurse practitioners are really trained and very specific to the scope of what would be seen in an urgent care facility and then they’re also experts at knowing when and how to refer elsewhere,” Ms. O’Connell said.
The urgent care facility can also help someone looking to get regular sports physicals.
The new facility comes equipped with four exam suites, one treatment suite and one imaging suite which contains an X-ray machine. The urgent care also will be equipped to handle small stitching jobs or other minor injuries in that realm. There are also negative airflow rooms where patients who potentially have COVID-19 will be placed for examinations.
For infections such as Urinary Tract Infections, the urgent care also can administer a handful of lab tests that will give results in five to 10 minutes.
“That is one reason we are really confident we can get people in and out. For anyone who has a condition that we are able to safely and efficiently treat, we’ve got a lot of great processes to keep that moving really quickly. And then for anyone who we feel like it is safer for them to be at the emergency department, we’ll do that right away,” Ms. O’Connell said.
Another reason she is confident in the urgent care’s ability is the capable staff located at the facility.
The urgent care will have 11 total staff members, including three nurse practitioners and eight clinical concierges working 12-hour shifts.. Four staff members, including one nurse practitioner and three clinical concierges, will be working at one time.
The concierges are all multi-faceted workers as well, being able to do more than just one task.
“That really serves two purposes. One, it gives the patient one face throughout their entire visit other than the provider and it also reduces patients having to tell so many people why they are there. It really should only take one or two people max to know why someone is there and how they can help them right away and we will be able to do that,” Ms. O’Connell said.
Being in the middle of a pandemic, the hiring process was a challenge as it all had to be online, but Ms. O’Connell said she was very happy with who will be coming on.
The staff even got their first look at the facility this past week and are excited to start helping people next week.
“This past week was a lot of fun. We got to bring the staff in to really go through some staging practice, the workflows and they are really excited to get going. They’re ready to see some real patients instead of going through scenarios with fake patients,” Ms. O’Connell said.
The facility also held a virtual open house at noon Saturday and said they received plenty of wonderful feedback from the community.
“That was a lot of fun. There were some really great comments. People just seemed excited because Cottage has a great reputation for our hospital care and we were hoping that that would translate to people being excited to have this different care offering and it seems that that’s the case,” Ms. O’Connell said.
People wanting to make an appointment can go online and schedule it at www.cottagehealth.org/urgent-care/. The facility also offers walk-in appointments.