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Meritus Health officials consider closing Downtown Urgent Care clinic

In December 2010, the center was opened to maintain a downtown presence

February 17, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • Meritus Health officials are discussing whether to close the Downtown Urgent Care clinic on East Antietam Street, Meritus spokeswoman Mary Rizk confirmed Thursday.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

Meritus Health officials are discussing whether to close the Downtown Urgent Care clinic on East Antietam Street, Meritus spokeswoman Mary Rizk confirmed Thursday.

Rizk said the closure was not definite.

“It’s an ongoing discussion on how we can best use our resources, and where we can consolidate and still be able to provide services,” she said.

The clinic is one of three run by Meritus Enterprises, an affiliate of Meritus Health that was formerly called Antietam Health Services.

The other two are Urgent Care Robinwood at Robinwood Professional Center and Urgent Care Sylvania on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The downtown clinic opened Dec. 27, 2010 in the Hager Park Professional Center at 324 E. Antietam St., just weeks after the nearby Washington County Hospital closed to be replaced with the new Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown off Robinwood Drive.

At the time, downtown clinic operations Supervisor Melissa Bowen said in a published report that the center was opened to maintain a downtown presence.

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“When the hospital went to the mayor to get the building permit to move the hospital out there, the agreement was there’d still be a facility for the downtown population,” Bowen was quoted as saying in a Herald-Mail story in January 2011.

“We haven’t had as much use from the underserved community there as we thought we would when the decision was first made to locate a center there, so we’re feeling that by having two locations, we can still take care of the health needs that the urgent care centers serve,” Rizk said Thursday.

Financial factors are driving the discussion, she said.

The urgent care clinics provide walk-in care for minor medical problems such as sprains, earaches, sore throats and flu symptoms.

Health system officials have urged patients to use the centers where appropriate to help relieve pressure on the hospital’s emergency department.

Editor's note: This story was edited Friday, Feb. 17, to fix the spelling of "underserved" in a quote from Mary Rizk in the ninth paragraph.

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