BHS Walk-In Care Center closing: Not enough need to justify Williamstown clinic

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WILLIAMSTOWN The walk-in clinic that Berkshire Health Systems established at Williamstown Medical Associates last year is being closed due to a consistent lack of patient volume.

The clinic, inside Williamstown Medical Associates facility on Adams Road, is scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, according to Berkshire Health Services, which operates the facility. The clinic will maintain its regular hours, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, until that date.

It is the second walk-in clinic that BHS has closed in the last two years. The county's largest employer also closed a walk-in clinic it operated at Market 32 in Pittsfield last August for the same reason — lack of patient volume, according to BHS spokesman Michael Leary.

The Market 32 clinic was seeing less than 20 patients a day when it closed, while the Williamstown clinic has averaged about three to five patients a day since it opened in February 2016, Leary said.

Patient volume at the Market 32 clinic was affected by the opening of BHS's Urgent Care facility on East Street in Pittsfield, which offers more services than the walk-in clinic. The urgent care facility initially averaged 50 patients per day, a number that has currently risen to a daily average of 60 to 80 patients, Leary said.

"It's clear that we are seeing a community need for care for minor emergencies and illness," he said. "And with urgent care also open expanded hours and on weekends and most holidays, we feel many walk-in patients are using urgent care instead of the walk-in sites we had operated."

Despite the low patient volume at both the Market 32 and Williamstown clinics, BHS has not given up on the idea of establishing more walk-in facilities.

"We're looking at further options to serve walk-in patients," he said. "Hopefully, at a future date we'll have another announcement."

BHS also operates Berkshire Medical Center's satellite emergency facility in North Adams, which is open 24-hours a day, 365-days a year. BHS Urgent Care in Pittsfield is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, including weekends and most holidays.

Nurse practitioner Sarah Kangas, who staffed the Williamstown Walk-In Care site, will continue to work for BHS in another capacity.

Contact Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224.


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