The last day of operation for Meritus Health’s Downtown Urgent Care clinic on East Antietam Street will be April 13, a Meritus official said Thursday.
The health system is closing the downtown clinic because it has been under-utilized since its opening in December 2010, spokeswoman Mary Rizk said.
“The decision was made after careful review of our existing services and patient volumes,” Rizk said.
Meritus Enterprises operates two other urgent-care centers that will remain open. One is Urgent Care Sylvania on Pennsylvania Avenue, and the other is Urgent Care Robinwood, at the blue entrance to the Robinwood Professional Center.
Another urgent-care center, run by a company called MedExpress, opened Wednesday at 1741 Dual Highway. Rizk said that timing was a coincidence.
Downtown Urgent Care opened in Hager Park Professional Center just weeks after the nearby Washington County Hospital closed to be replaced with the new Meritus Medical Center off Robinwood Drive.
Rizk said when the hospital closed, the health system recognized a responsibility to make sure the needs of the downtown community were met, but there was no formal agreement with the city regarding a downtown presence.
Officials now believe the downtown community’s needs can be met with the medical center and the two other urgent-care centers, she said.
“There was an assumption that the residents would seek care near the old hospital location and that did not bear out,” Rizk said.
On average, about 180 patients a week were seen at Downtown Urgent Care in 2011, she said.
“We feel like the traffic that downtown saw was a result of a transfer of patient volume from (Urgent Care) Robinwood, because when downtown opened, we did see a decrease in volume at Robinwood,” she said.
Seven employees will be affected by the closure, Rizk said.
They are applying for other positions in the health system, and will be offered training if they decide to seek positions outside of their current skills, she said.