By the end of summer, people in and around Mount Airy have access to a new, one-stop shop for their health care needs, whether they see physicians in the Carroll or Frederick hospital networks.
The Mount Airy Health and Wellness Pavilion, a joint venture between the two health systems, held its ribbon-cutting June 29 and primary care physicians with the Carroll Hospital group are already seeing patients.
Located in the voluminous building at 504 E. Ridgeville Blvd. that once played host to a grocery store, the Health and Wellness Pavilion has been renovated in a modernist style, with a sweeping lobby reminiscent of a business class airport lobby, off which spokes separate sections for the physicians offices of each health network. By September, according to Carroll Hospital President Leslie Simmons, radiology, urgent care and laboratory services will also move in to offer an almost complete array of nonemergency care options.
"Lab, imaging, urgent care and rehab — we will share those functions together instead of both of us feeling like we need to duplicate those services and actually increase costs," Simmons said in an interview at the ribbon-cutting. "We're actually able to share those between our organizations and save money."
Between now and September, Carroll Hospital will also add specialists alongside primary care, Simmons said, including cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, and breast health.
"We will do a nice rotation of specialists through here," she said. "We will build on how often they are here based on community need. They may only start out once a week but as the community accesses that care, we will increase their presence here."
The ultimate goal, Simmons said, is to create a real one-stop shop for people in southwestern Carroll.
"Usually when you go to your physician's office, he might say, 'Yeah, I want you to go get an X-ray,' or, 'Get your blood drawn,' " she said. "Well, now you can do that right here. You don't have to go somewhere else."
That sort of convenience means efficiency and lower costs, and is really what health care systems are aiming for today, according to Tom Kleinhanzl, president and CEO of the Frederick Regional Health System.
"Providing high-quality care, doing it in a highly accessible location and the most convenient but low-cost setting," he said. "Being able to do that constellation of things together in a building such as this is what creates such a special place."
The new pavilion may mark a new era of cooperation between the two health systems, but not the beginning: In 2008, an earlier collaboration led to the opening of the Mount Airy Health Services Facility on South Main Street, a facility both health systems have now outgrown.
"It's tight; it's crowded; it's not as private in terms of patient amenities. As we've added physicians and services, it's really been maximized," Kleinhanzl said. "We looked for a long time for the right location, and I think we've found it here."