News Article Details

Cape Fear Health closing treatment center, cuts staff

Fayetteville Observer - 11/28/2018

Nov. 28--The ExpressCare urgent care center at the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center campus on Owen Drive is closing this weekend and members of its staff are transferring to the hospital's Emergency Department.

Also this fall, Cape Fear Health System has eliminated 59 positions throughout its operations to save money as health insurers cut how much they will reimburse the hospital system for medical services, said spokeswoman Janet Conway. Of those 59 employees, she said, 32 took other jobs in the hospital system, and 22 accepted a severance package.

The remaining five employees hope to get other jobs at the hospital system should openings emerge, Conway said.

The last day of operations for the ExpressCare on the Owen Drive campus is Sunday. Starting on Monday, the Emergency Department will begin operating with "an expanded capacity and staff to better accommodate patients," a Cape Fear news release says.

It was unclear on Tuesday the reason for the closure of the ExpressCare on Owen Drive and whether it is connected to the hospital's cost-cutting efforts. Conway was researching the question on Tuesday and awaiting answers.

"I do know that the volumes had dropped," she said. "In addition, many of the patients presented signs and symptoms more appropriate for the emergency department." It's not unusual, Conway said, for people with serious or severe injuries or illness to go to an urgent care center when they instead need to visit an emergency room to get proper treatment.

With the ExpressCare closure on Owen Drive, patients who want treatment for minor injuries and minor illnesses are advised to visit one of Cape Fear Health System's two other ExpressCare locations in Cumberland Countybetween 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week. They may also visit Cape Fear's QuikCare location in Lumberton in Robeson Countybetween 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

The Cumberland County ExpressCare locations are in Fayetteville at Highsmith-Rainey Specialty Hospital at 150 Robeson St. and at Health Pavilion North at 6387 Ramsey St.

The QuikCare is at 588 Bailey Road in Lumberton.

Patients with minor medical issues can also visit the Emergency Department at the Owen Drive campus, Conway said, but treatment at the Emergency Department generally costs more than at the ExpressCare and QuikCare medical offices.

An ExpressCare is an urgent care center while the QuikCare is more of a traditional primary care physician office, Conway said, although appointments are not required.

Staff writer Paul Woolverton can be reached at pwoolverton@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3512.

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