The health network has opened nine of these walk-in clinics in the Bay Area since last year. The Mountain View clinic is the latest addition and is the only location between San Jose and San Francisco along the Peninsula.
"We want to reserve emergency departments for complex and life-threatening illnesses, rather than having people with minor medical problems going there because they have no other option," Carolin Delker, Sutter's walk-in care clinical director, said in a statement. "At the same time, allowing patients to receive non-urgent care and vaccinations quickly, near where they live or work, should help free up doctor office visits for those with more serious issues."
As suggested by the name, appointments are not needed and patients are encouraged to drop in whenever is convenient for them. The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., allowing people with inflexible job schedules to drop in before or after work. Although the storefront in the Monta Loma Plaza is pretty small, Sutter officials say all the clinics are equally staffed with nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
The clinic isn't well-suited for more serious illnesses, broken bones and severe cuts and burns — that's still handled by urgent care clinics and emergency departments — but the hope is that an extra step-down option means fewer patients are putting off vaccinations, physical exams and less intensive treatments.
Other limitations include insurance — most insurance plans are accepted but it's still up to the patient to figure that out, and the flat out-of-pocket rate is $129 per visit — and age. Parents of children under the age of 18 months are recommended to seek health care services from a pediatrician instead.
The change in tenants from Ernie's Liquors to the new Sutter clinic is the latest evolution for the plaza, where a relatively small Safeway opened up last year. Safeway replaced the former Fresh & Easy, which was only open for three years before the grocery store chain collapsed and shuttered its hundreds of locations.
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