St. John Health System Opens Catoosa Urgent Care Clinic

In July, St. John Health System opened its fourth urgent care clinic, this one in Catoosa at 1875 N. Oklahoma 66, in hopes of providing health services not only to an under-served community, but also to the 63 businesses that operate at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, as well as other local and surrounding companies.
Dr. Jason Lepak, co-director of urgent care, who, along with Dr. Todd Hoffman, runs St. John’s four urgent care clinics (in Catoosa and at 1717 S. Utica Ave. and 8131 S. Memorial Drive in Tulsa and 402 W. Morrow Road in Sand Springs) and St. John Owasso and St. John Sapulpa’s emergency facilities, said it’s part of St. John’s mission to “provide … compassionate care in the communities and areas that don’t have those type of resources.”
By “those types of resources,” Lepak means facilities that offer seven-day-a-week operations, extended hours and walk-in accommodations. Prior to July, residents of Catoosa had no nearby urgent care facility where they could go for treatment of common illnesses, colds, flu, respiratory viruses, lacerations, sprains and broken bones.
St. John opened its urgent care facility in a building it already owned, formerly occupied by Omni Medical Group, which helped reduce costs.
“Since January of 2007, when we opened our first urgent care (at 1717 S. Utica Ave.), the St. John Health System has committed resources to opening three others,” said Lepak.
Although he wouldn’t divulge the exact figure associated with opening any or all of the urgent care facilities, he said, “It’s been a hefty commitment from the health system.”
“The health system has been generous in providing the resources that we as physicians need to provide excellent medical care in those communities,” said Lepak.
Each facility is equipped with digital X-ray and transmission capabilities, digital medical records (see the related story on page 1), EKG capabilities and on-site laboratory testing.
In addition to treatment for common ailments, the Catoosa facility, as well as St. John’s other urgent care clinics, offers an occupational health line, which the system implemented in May of 2008.
“That is for pre-employment, DOT physicals, work-related injuries or workers’ comp. Any of the businesses in those communities are welcome to send their employees in, and we have an occupational team that can take care of them,” said Lepak.
“We do feel that, by being in very close proximity to (the Tulsa Port of Catoosa) and offering the occupational health care line, we can definitely help to service the port and its businesses. We’re already starting to see utilization from them as well as Catoosa schools,” he said.
Lepak said it’s difficult for the health system to gauge community utilization of the facility since it is so new and marketing efforts are just getting underway, but volume there has doubled since its opening.
“We are seeing increased utilization of that facility, even though we are still in the process of doing our marketing out there and getting our permanent signage,” he said.
He said the facility will offer Catoosa residents and businesses convenient access to health care while saving them money — rather than go to the emergency room to seek treatment, they can go to the urgent care facility.
“Eight or nine out of 10 patients that are seen in an emergency department could probably be seen in another venue,” Lepak said. “The financial ramifications are significant for the individual or the company who seeks treatment at an emergency department rather than an urgent care. We are approximately 30-50 percent cheaper for the same visit than a standard emergency department bill.”
However, the clinic is not equipped to see patients who suffer from heart attack, stroke, major trauma or other true emergencies, Lepak said. ?

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