PITTSFIELD — Citing a significant drop-off in patient volume, Berkshire Health Systems announced on Monday that it will close its Walk-In Care Clinic at Market 32 on Hubbard Avenue by the end of the week.
The clinic, which is inside the supermarket's pharmacy, will remain open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Friday, when it will close for good.
The Pittsfield facility, which opened in April 2015, was initially a success with up to 100 patients a week visiting the walk-in clinic last summer, according to BHS spokesman Michael Leary.
But in September, BHS opened an urgent care clinic in St. Luke's Square on East Street, which offers more services than the walk-in clinic. The Urgent Care Clinic has also been successful — as of last month, it was serving 50 to 60 patients a day, according to Dr. Ronald Hayden, Berkshire Medical Center's director of medicine.
"When we opened the walk-in care clinic it was very instrumental in the development of walk-in centers in the county," Leary said. "Initially, we were seeing 20 to 30 patients, it grew to 50 to 60 and reached a high in the summer of 2015 of 100 patients a week. However, following the opening of BHS Urgent Care on East Street, that number was dropping over time. We've reached the point where it's under 20 patients."
MedExpress, the country's fourth largest urgent care chain, also opened an urgent care center in late June at 999 Dalton Ave., which is about a mile from Market 32.
In July, Hayden told The Eagle that BHS was "waiting to see" how the proximity of the two facilities would affect the walk-in clinic at Market 32.
On Monday, Leary said the new MedExpress facility had no bearing on BHS' decision to close the walk-in clinic.
"It has nothing to do with any competitors," Leary said, "because we're continuing to see the numbers growing at our own urgent care center."
Another independent clinic, 510 Medical Walk-In Urgent Care Center, has been open on North St. in Pittsfield for 33 years.
The BHS walk-in clinic at Williamstown Medical Associates which will remain open.
BHS is looking to expand its facility on East Street, which is located at the site of the Mildred Elley School's former Pittsfield campus.
Leary said it was too soon to announce specifics on that project.
Nurse practitioner Linda Schermerhorn, the Market 32 Walk-In Clinic's lone employee, will be offered another position within BHS, Leary said.
"Linda has been terrific and we'd love to retain her services," he said.
Price Chopper, which operates Market 32, also has walk-in clinics located at company supermarkets in Latham, N.Y. and Malta, N.Y.
The regional chain has yet to decide what to do with the space vacated by BHS in Pittsfield.
"We're exploring our options," said Alesha Roberts, a spokeswoman for Price Chopper's pharmacy operations. "There are no firm plans yet."
"Berkshire Health Systems thanks Price Chopper and Market 32 for partnering on the Walk-In Clinic by providing a convenient and easily accessible location within the new Market 32 in Pittsfield," said Brenda Cadorette, vice president of acute care for Berkshire Medical Center, in a prepared statement.
"Its early success validated the community need for walk-in services and helped in the final development of the more comprehensive BHS Urgent Care facility."
Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at 413 496-6224.