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NW Specialty to offer urgent care

by Brian Walker
| December 16, 2010 8:00 PM

POST FALLS - Northwest Specialty Hospital is getting into the urgent care business.

The physician-owned Post Falls hospital plans to open Premier Urgent Care in early January in the space formerly occupied by North Idaho Immediate Care in the hospital's adjacent medical office building.

"It's a new product line that we're offering," said Vaughn Ward, CEO of Northwest Specialty Hospital. "We're excited to compete in the urgent care market.

"We see it as an area in which we can compete very effectively and efficiently."

The center will have a staff of six to 10 - separate from the hospital - to start. It will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ward said some details, such as the exact opening date and hours, haven't been finalized.

The hospital is launching the service with the intent of focusing on outstanding patient care, competitive cost and seeing patients in a timely manner, Ward said.

"Specializing will be part of the marketing tool we'll use," he said. "We want patients to be able to get in and get out. We want it to be something in which people go back and tell their friends about."

Northwest Specialty, a for-profit hospital, was built about eight years ago and it has been in expansion mode with services and space ever since. It recently purchased an open MRI for more than $1 million that has twice the magnetic strength as its previous open MRI.

"To stay competitive, we'll continually push the edge on technology," Ward said.

Ward said the hospital expects other expansions in 2011, but declined to specify.

Kootenai Health has also gotten into the urgent care field. It purchased the North Idaho Immediate Care centers, including the one that was in the Northwest Specialty medical office building, about two years ago.

Kootenai Health already has an urgent care center in the KMC Health Park on Mullan Avenue in Post Falls, so it was unnecessary to have another center across the street in the Northwest Specialty medical office building. Kootenai Health also has urgent care centers in Coeur d'Alene and Hayden.

In March, Kootenai Health announced a partnership with North Idaho Family Physicians, a group that operated two after-hours urgent care clinics.