Keep urgent care access

Published 8:02 pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whether it’s time or money, many residents of Beaufort County can’t afford a visit to a primary-care physician. While they may miss the regular checkups that a primary physician would provide, they know they can depend on the staff at Inner Banks Urgent Care for their health-care needs. Patients have confidence that their treatment will be timely and economical.

That may end in June if Vidant Health follows through on a plan to close the urgent-care center near the hospital at 608 E. 12th St.

“Effective June 2012, health care providers at Inner Banks Urgent Care in Washington will begin seeing patients at other practices throughout the county,” Vidant Health public-relations specialist Beth Anne Atkins said in a news release. “The providers will no longer see patients at Inner Banks Urgent Care.”

For patients whose only access to basic health care is behind the doors of Inner Banks Urgent Care, this is a turn in the wrong direction. Many will resort to the hospital emergency room for the minor ailments that Dr. Liz Cook and her staff handle now. Worse yet, others will “wait it out” by opting not to seek care at all until the situation deteriorates.

The Vidant Health website indicates its mission is “to enhance the quality of life for the people and communities we serve, touch and support.”

Our hope is it follows through on that mission and reconsiders the decision because access to health care is vital for both Vidant Health and its patients.