Gainesville, Alachua County Commissioners move forward to bring urgent care unit to East Gainesville

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville City commissioners and Alachua County Commissioners agreed to draft up terms for an agreement with UF Health to bring an urgent care unit to East Gainesville. Both boards also decided they will be extending the opportunity to other healthcare providers.

East Gainesville and East Alachua County have the highest number of avoidable hospital emergency room visits, according to the 2020 Alachua County Health Assessment.

All residents not having equal access to health care is the problem the City of Gainesville and Alachua County Commission is trying to tackle.

Both commissions agreed to draft terms with UF Health to put what would be the only urgent care unit in East Gainesville on Hawthorne Rd.

“To develop a term sheet that would help us identify not just the location and what services will be provided but also to ensure a long time commitment to that facility,” County Commissioner Anna Prizzia said.

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The county and city will use federal CARES Act funding to pay $5 million in fees to get the 13-acre facility up and running.

The care unit would have on site x-ray, lab and minor procedures and would stay open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the week.

Gainesville City Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker said she grew up and she still lives in East Gainesville and a care unit like this is long overdue.

Duncan-Walker explained that residents of East Gainesville were let down when Alachua General Hospital(AGH) closed.

“So, that’s why you heard me ask UF Health today to lean in on the next phases because east Gainesville has always needed commitment from the people that we partner with, particularly the University of Florida,” Duncan-Walker said.

Prizzia said the commission will push for phase two and three of the project to bring dental and mental care and more

“I’m really excited about the steps that we’re taking,” Prizzia said. “I’m excited for the collaboration and the partnership with our city and with UF Health to begin moving in the right direction and I hope that the conversation continues as we look at what sort of comprehensive care can we begin to provide so that we’re not just addressing urgent care But also proactive primary care that addresses everything from the care we’re used to from our doctors to preventative health just like exercise, nutrition, women’s care.”

They did not agree on a contract.

Duncan-Walker made it clear that she feels the boards should hear from other healthcare providers including non profits in the area before putting pen to paper and commissioners agreed.

“There are also other healthcare providers out there who need the opportunity to help us to address a long standing need and also to have a shot at the money that is available to help them do that,” Duncan-Walker explained.

Commissioners project a contract will be signed by the end of the year, if they come to an agreement with UF Health but not necessarily with a different provider.

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