New primary care facility in North Charleston

You could now be closer to a primary care doctor. Wednesday was the grand opening for a new Roper St. Francis clinic in North Charleston.

The facility is on Rivers Avenue, right when you turn off of I-526.

News 2’s Ashley Osborne was there for the grand opening and got a look inside the brand new clinic.

Today we talked to the clinic manager at this new Roper clinic. You could hear the excitement in Amanda Biondi’s voice as she talked about being in this neighborhood. Biondi explained how there is a great need for more doctors in this area of North Charleston.

“I am most excited about us being in this community,” says Biondi.”

Biondi says that Roper St. Francis studied the patient demographics and found that this area of North Charleston had the greatest need. “Not only is it a little bit of a food desert,” Biondi points out. “It’s also a little bit of a care desert too.”

Roper also noticed many patients were going to the ER for procedures that could be handled in a primary care facility.

“What we’ve been able to do is take those patients out of the emergency room who weren’t going to the emergency room for a emergencies because there was medicine there and they knew a doctor would see them despite their ability to pay,” Biondi explains. “We said, we can do better that that. We can get you on a path to wellness and we can place you from here into the appropriate level of care that you need.”

This way, these patients can build a relationship with a primary care doctor while also taking a burden of the ER system. “That allows patients who are really having an emergency to get access very quickly and that is what we want because we are in the business of saving lives and keeping people well in the community,” Biondi says.

At the Rivers Avenue clinic they have a social worker to help people apply for aid, a mental health counselor, OB/GYN services and a family physician.

Biondi gives an example of how they want to partner with families in the community. “If we get a referral for you, and you come in with the transitions program and tell us that you have 3 kids at home and your mom’s a diabetic and she lives in the house, we can take care of your whole family.”

Biondi says their approach is to take care of the whole patient. They plan to help people with more than just their medical needs.

“If the patient comes in and they need a pair of socks, we have a success closet full of socks and clothes to give them. If they don’t have access to hot water at home, we’ve got a shower that our patients can use. We understand that building that relationship and trust, especially in patients who’ve never been offered that before, that’s a huge deal and to be able to do it such a state-of-the-art gorgeous facility is just beyond expectations.”

Biondi says they are able to provide this level of care in part because of donations and grants. She also points out that this clinic is a money-saver for the healthcare system because they are about to give people routine care for much cheaper than the emergency rooms people were using before.

Doctors and nurses start seeing patients this coming Monday August 7th.

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