After-hours medical clinic to open in LaFayette

The clinic, set to open late spring or early summer, is at 615 Villanow Street next to Professional Park Associates. (Messenger photo/Josh O'Bryant)

LaFayette will soon — in late spring or early summer — have an extended-hours medical clinic, City Manager David Hamilton said.

Housed in a building adjacent Professional Park Associates, the clinic will be open six days a week as a facility leased and staffed by CHI Memorial personnel, he said.

This is not the first time the facility at 615 Villanow St. has provided medical service to the community beyond normal doctors' office hours.

Prior to its financial collapse and 2014 bankruptcy, Hutcheson Medical Center operated the clinic under a similar leasing arrangement, according to officials with the non-defunct Hospital Authority of Walker, Dade and Catoosa Counties.

"My understanding is that the city owned the property in a deal similar to a Development Authority and HMC had a long term lease with a very favorable property acquisition at end of lease," said Corky Jewell, former chairman of the hospital authority's board of trustees."The city maintained ownership through the bankruptcy and can now lease to another tenant."

Chickamauga in Walker County and Trenton in Dade County already have similar walk-in clinics, both leased by CHI Memorial Hospital. The clinic in LaFayette will be called CHI Memorial Convenient Care-LaFayette.

The clinic is separated into three sections. The south wing will be used for convenient care for acute medical needs that allow for walk-ins. The center wing will be used as an extension of Professional Park Associates' primary care medical needs. The north wing's use will be determined later because the clinic is still being refurbished.

The Hutcheson building closed its doors in October 2015, where a children's clinic was housed in the south wing, where a pediatric center was once located.

"On this end (south wing), we are going to do convenient care (for acute medical needs)," Practice administrator Professional Park Associates Kristie Taylor said.

An acute medical need would be a walk-in treatment of broken bones an injury requiring stitches.

Taylor said the office will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but would remain open until the last patient is treated. Saturday hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. — or until the last patient is treated.

"If our need goes past 6 o'clock (p.m.) -- like if it is 6 o'clock and we are still busy -- we are going to extend it to whatever we need to," Taylor said.

If someone has a medical emergency after the clinic is cleared, the patient would be referred to a Professional Park Associate provider and be sent to a Chattanooga hospital, most likely by ambulance.

"All this is going to be is a Professional Park Associates Memorial Convenient Care, but it is all part of the same providers as Professional Park," Taylor said.

Hours of operation will be based on need, with access to an on-call provider after clinic hours. The office will offer on-site X-ray and lab services, and will treat patients two and older. Walk-ins will be welcome.

The property purchased for $250,000 — wall above its appraised value — includes a 10,000-square-foot medical facility and 34 acres of land, officials said. and requires some repairs and updating.

The property purchase and the repair costs are funded through the Development Authority of LaFayette by a loan from The Bank of LaFayette, according to a joint LaFayette-CHI the press release issued Feb. 10..

"We have a signed lease between the Development Authority of LaFayette and CHI Memorial for a seven-year term, which will provide a net positive cash flow after allowing for the payments on the loan," the press released stated.

"Professional Park Associates, located across the street from this property, is expanding and will move some providers to this new space, increasing accessibility to high-quality medical care for the community," the press release stated.

"Doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses from Professional Park Associates will staff Convenient Care-LaFayette," officials said.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.