Source: San Francisco Patch

By Patch Staff

August 10, 2016

The Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care Castro Center is equipped to handle urgent but not life-threatening medical issues.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — An urgent care center celebrating its grand opening in San Francisco's Castro District Tuesday is the first of a dozen expected to open in the Bay Area over the next year.

The Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care Castro Center at 2288 Market Street is a drop-in facility equipped to handle urgent but not life-threatening medical issues ranging from illness to sprains, cuts and broken bones, officials said Tuesday.

The facility, which will be open 365 days a year, is equipped with four exam rooms, a laboratory and x-ray equipment, and allows patients to walk in off the street or make appointments online. The center, which opened on Aug. 1 and has already had walk-in patients, is the result of a partnership between Dignity Health, which operates St. Mary's Medical Center and Saint Francisco Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, and GoHealth, an urgent care management firm with similar facilities in New York and Portland.

The two companies plan to roll out a dozen more centers in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties over the next year. Five locations are planned in San Francisco, with centers opening in Glen Park and Cole Valley in September. GoHealth and Dignity officials said the centers were part of a growing trend in health care toward urgent care facilities that can provide fast, convenient access to medical treatment at a lower price.

"This is a great alternative and it's considerably less expensive than an emergency room," GoHealth CEO Todd Latz said. "Think of it as fitting in between primary care and an emergency room."

The partnership with Dignity means that patient records will be integrated into the Dignity system and can be accessed by physicians there. However, patients outside of the Dignity system and those paying out of 
pocket are also welcome. The center is the second urgent care center to open in the Castro in the past month. Dignity and GoHealth officials said they planned to target locations in busy, vibrant neighborhoods like the Castro with lots of foot traffic and nearby retail, ensuring visibility and easy access for patients.

Richard Magary, administrator for the Castro Merchants Association, said the group was very happy to see the center opening in a former Radio Shack location.

"I think it provides a wonderful opportunity for local residents to have easy access to urgent medical care," Magary said. "And importantly to us it is a beautiful use of a storefront that had once been vacant," Magary said, noting that the site, a former Radio Shack, had been vacant for at least a year or two. "We're happy to see it occupied."