A popular health care clinic is closing its doors next month to people in the Westside community. CHI Memorial will close its Westside Health Center on August 1st.
A hospital spokesperson said a decline in patients is the reason why they're closing. They credit the Affordable Care Act for providing patients insurance coverage and other options in their health care needs, but Westside neighbors disagree. They tell channel 3 the need that facility to stay in their community.
Another business is closing in this Westside neighborhood. “It seems like everything that is helpful to us out here in this neighborhood, they are taking it away and leaving a lot of people stranded,” said Brenda Bryant. She has concerns but she knows she is one of the lucky ones. She is capable of driving. “People don't have rides. A lot of elderly people can't catch the bus. If they move to Hixson, we wonder how people will get out the door to get their medicine, and see their doctors.”
The Westside Health Center will close on August 1ST. Neighbors will need to find a new primary care doctor. “I really need that office open because that is my doctor's office where I go. It's close to my house and very convenient for me,” said Jennifer Beck.
The hospital has expanded the CHI Memorial Community Health Hixson facility to meet the needs of patients transferring from the Westside. But neighbors say it's not that easy. “Well I am not going to Hixson. Because I don't have a way to Hixson. That is too far for me to go to Hixson. So there for, I will have to find another doctor closer to me because I am not able to travel that far from here to Hixson.”
This isn't the first business to shut down in the area, at the Grove Street Retail Center businesses remain closed. Except for the Westside shop. It is now the only operating business left for neighbors. “Seem like everything we get built up out here that is to help the neighborhood something comes along and torn down or moving it. It makes it hard,” said Bryant.
The statement below is from Lisa McCluskey, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at CHI Memorial.
CHI Memorial opened its first community health center on the North Shore in 1996 and expanded to Westside approximately 14 years ago. We operated two clinics. The North Shore clinic was expanded when we moved and opened CHI Memorial Community Health Hixson. With expanded capabilities at Community Health Hixson – laboratory, x-ray, pharmacy, and social workers - we have seen less demand for the CHI Memorial Community Health Westside facility.
Part of that diminished demand at Westside is also due to the positive effect of the Affordable Care Act, in that many individuals who previously came to Westside for care due to lack of health insurance, are now covered by insurance and able to establish with a primary care physician. We are transitioning our team providing care at Westside to CHI Memorial Community Health Hixson, effective August 1, 2017. We are not anticipating job loss.
The remaining Westside patients will be well supported with transportation assistance throughout the transition. And our staff is in contact with those patients.
In closing our Westside facility, we recognize the unique healthcare needs of the seniors residing nearby in Gateway Towers, many of whom face transportation and financial challenges that have been barriers to seeking care for chronic health conditions. We do have a plan underway to expand near care and home visits to the residents at Gateway Towers, but we are not able to release details as of today. I hope be able to share more information in the next week or two.