Medical practice opens satellite clinic service for patients

LONDON: A medical practice has opened a new satellite clinic service for distanced patients.

On Nov. 10, Cooperstown Medical Center opened a satellite clinic in Lakota that Steven Barlow, family nurse practitioner and provider at the clinic, says will help boost health in the community.

“Winter is here, travel is not great all the time, so just by providing greater ease of access, hopefully it will increase the overall wellness of the population,” said Barlow.

Nikki Johnson, Cooperstown Medical Center CEO, said the team at Cooperstown Medical Center realized the initial need for more health care services after Cooperstown Medical Center providers, like Barlow, started doing rounds at the Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Lakota to help supplement its staff. As Barlow got to know residents at the nursing home and other community members, people started asking if he would be available for appointments in Lakota outside of the nursing home.

The nearest clinic to Lakota is the Nelson County Health System clinic in Michigan, North Dakota. However, the Michigan clinic is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“When you’re talking about routine health care, which is largely maintenance, that can be planned out in advance,” said Barlow. “But when you’re sick that day, it helps to be seen in a reasonable time frame.”

The team at Cooperstown Medical Center saw the days that the Michigan clinic is closed as an opportunity to make it easier for people in Lakota to get care within that reasonable time frame. They decided to open a clinic in Lakota that would operate only on days when the Michigan clinic is closed.

“Our intention is not to compete with other entities, but to supplement what is already being offered to really enhance access to health care on a continuous basis,” said Johnson.

Starting out, the Lakota clinic is open on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. While it is only open for a half day at present, Johnson says there is a possibility it will open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays if there is enough demand in the community.

The clinic is equipped to serve the needs of patients of any age, with services like wellness checks, joint injections, lesion removal, dermatology checks, acne care and sports physicals. People can come to the clinic when experiencing symptoms like sore throat, cough, fevers and pain, and the clinic can test for COVID-19, influenza and strep throat. Barlow said community members are already requesting for additional services to be offered at the location, such as Department of Transportation physicals for drivers who need commercial drivers licenses.

According to Johnson, clinic startup costs in Lakota were minimal. The space is leased from the Fire Audiology and Hearing Center, and Cooperstown Medical Center had some funding available to help with the cost of COVID testing supplies.

“Since we already run a clinic in Cooperstown, we had supplies on hand that we could pack up and take with us to get things started,” said Johnson.

Johnson hopes the new clinic will make it easier to access care in the community where health services have long been limited.

“Since people can’t choose when they have a sore throat, COVID symptoms or develop any other acute need, it is a benefit to have the option of seeing a health care provider more days per week,” said Johnson.