Providence Centralia Hospital has announced that it will close its Pediatric After Hours Clinic at the end of this year.
“We took a look at what the needs were and they were very different in the community since when the clinic started,” said Jill Cooper, Providence Centralia Hospital Site Administrator. “There were challenges in the community that don’t exist anymore.”
The clinic first opened in 1997 and currently serves families from 6-9 p.m. every day. Cooper noted that Valley View Health Center and Northwest Pediatric Center also have after-hours walk-in clinics for pediatric patients.
“There really had not been any analysis since (the clinic opened),” said Chris Thomas, who is the communications senior manager for Providence Health and Services, Southwest Washington. “In 1997, this was identified as a community need and now, after looking at the data, it doesn’t look like the need is there — or it’s already being met at other clinics.”
Cooper said that the area the hospital uses for the pediatric after-hours clinic doubles as a pre-operative space during the day.
“Every night it had to transition,” she said. “… It was logistically challenging.”
Cooper said that 80 percent of the children who came into the clinic already had primary care physicians in the area. Those patients requested services that could have been handled at their primary care physicians office, she said.
“The commitment from pediatric care (professionals) in Lewis County is getting kids access to a primary care provider and to provide continuity of care so the families have a provider and stay with the provider over time,” Cooper said.
She also noted that in the summer months the clinic served four or five patients per evening. During the winter months, it could serve as many as 25 or 30 patients each evening. Cooper said other clinics in the area have expanded services, and that the extra hours were unnecessary.
“We have an Emergency Room that would see any patient for an emergency situation, but the kids being seen here were not emergency (situations),” Cooper said. “It was more of a convenience.”
Previously, Providence contracted with Chehalis Children’s Clinic to staff the Pediatric After Hours Clinic at Providence. After this year, they will no longer be Providence employees.
“They are making their own decisions about what their options are,” Cooper said. “Most of them had other jobs in these clinics already, so for them it’s more of a change of service location.”
Thomas noted that the clinic has been notifying patients to connect with their primary care providers since September.
“It will allow us to use the area as intended,” Cooper said. “... The clinic came into space that is already used all day long for pre-procedure preparations and infusions, so we will not have to make the transition to a clinic. If we have a patient that stays longer, it will not disrupt their care.