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Urgent care has made its mark by delivering good care to people on a walk-in basis. Those patients with sore throats, lacerations, and other complaints could have chosen to be treated in a primary care office, but realized their symptoms were such that waiting a few days was a miserable (or possibly dangerous) proposition. Some patients with mental health complaints find themselves in the same position—or worse, considering they might not already be aligned with a mental health professional. A new urgent care center in Durham, NC has taken notice and opened Carolina Outreach, which looks to provide urgent care for patients with complaints that could turn into crises without timely help. Some patients come in after realizing their antidepressant prescription has run out but their regular prescriber can’t see them until next week, for example. The clinic has also seen patients who realize they have substance abuse problem and feel they need to see someone immediately. It’s been a slow start, with 101 patients (14 children among them) walking through the front door in the first 6 weeks, but every one of them who has completed a post-visit survey said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the care they received. And 41 of them said they would have gone to the emergency room if Carolina Outreach was not an option—much in line with the options available for patients with nonemergent physical complaints. The company expects to max out at around 600 patients a month, ultimately. The clinic contracted with Alliance Behavioral Healthcare to provide urgent care for its Medicaid patients.

North Carolina Urgent Care Center Focuses on Mental Health Complaints