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Boise area health care providers debut new clinics for primary, urgent care

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Dr. Ted Epperly is the CEO of Family Medicine Residency of Idaho in Boise. "We should have health care as being a basic right," he says. "All people deserve a well-coordinated health care system that keeps them healthy."
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Dr. Ted Epperly is the CEO of Family Medicine Residency of Idaho in Boise. "We should have health care as being a basic right," he says. "All people deserve a well-coordinated health care system that keeps them healthy."

After a warm reception for its new pediatric urgent care clinic in Meridian, Primary Health Medical Group is ramping up for even more locations in the Treasure Valley. Other players are looking to stake claims for a share of the convenient care business, too.

They’re looking to treat patients at new brick-and-mortar offices and, more recently, over the internet.

Primary Health’s expansion

Garden City-based Primary Health is trying to establish itself in booming areas of the Treasure Valley, said David Peterman, a doctor and the medical group’s CEO.

Primary Health opened the Treasure Valley’s first pediatric urgent care in March near Eagle and Franklin roads. The health care provider opened its 19th clinic on April 15 in North Caldwell.

“We are very excited to be part of the College Marketplace development,” Peterman said. “Caldwell is one of the fastest-growing areas in Idaho, and we appreciate the community’s loyal support as we expand access.

“Our existing Caldwell clinic is one of our busiest, and we will be able to serve the community even better with this second location.”

Services will include walk-in urgent care and work injury care, as well as family medicine by appointment. Virtually all insurance plans are accepted, and a discount is offered for self-pay patients.

Internet clinic in Albertsons

An example of internet-based treatment is Albertsons’ new Market Street store in Meridian.

A vendor, Phoenix-based Akos Med Clinic, is tucked into a corner of the mammoth store. It can provide walk-in care on a virtual basis. It is one of 12 Akos Med Clinics that the grocery chain has in operation, and the first outside Arizona.

When patients visit the clinic, they sit in front of a computer screen and a rack of simple, FDA-approved medical devices that measure blood oxygen content, blood pressure, temperature, weight and other vital signs. The user is guided by augmented reality through self-administered steps to collect the medical data, as well as ear, nose and throat images, and chest, lung and abdomen sounds.

Follow-up questions are asked until the information necessary for a diagnostic decision is collected. The total process typically takes less than 15 minutes.

A complete patient workup is sent electronically to an Akos provider with a breakdown of potential illnesses and treatment options. Through a video consultation, the provider engages with the patient to check information, verify the diagnosis, and confirm or modify the treatment plan formulated by the system.

Cash visits are $75, about half the cost of a typical urgent care visit, Akos said.

“We are committed to providing our customers unprecedented convenience for their total health needs,” said Joe Leyba, director of pharmacy for Albertsons Cos. Southwest, where 11 of the Akos clinics are located.

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The new Albertsons Market Street store at Fairview and Eagle Road in Meridian. John Sowell jsowelel@idahostatesman.com

Appleton Clinics

Also looking to expand its business footprint is Appleton Clinics of Idaho, a Colorado-based company that offers monthly health care at a set price. Clients often pair membership with a high-deductible health insurance or “catastrophic” plan to cover specialists, hospitalizations and the like.

Adult patients pay $99 a month for the service. There’s no charge for two children per adult member. Patients, in turn, get their primary care needs met, all without having to file insurance claims, meet deductibles or fork out copays.

“You can go as often as you need,” said Clinic Director Jamie Faught, a physician who used to feel rushed in her former practice and spent any free time requesting prior authorizations from insurance companies to treat patients.

The clinic opened last October at 1675 E. Riverside Drive in Eagle.

Blue Cross buys part of Primary Health

Next up for the medical group? With families flocking to Kuna, Rocky Mountain Cos. is seeking to build a new 6,340-square-foot clinic for Primary Health at 1474 N. Meridian Road, near the corner of North Meridian and East Deer Flat roads.

Rocky Mountain Cos., a commercial real estate and development and investment firm, is the landlord for most of Primary’s 19 clinic locations in the Boise metro area.

To keep up with demand for medical services, Primary Health recently sold a minority stake in the business to Blue Cross of Idaho. The money will fund new clinics and additional staff, both organizations said.

The Idaho Statesman contributed.

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