BERLIN — Getting treatment for colds, cuts and concussions will be easier after the opening of an urgent care clinic.
“It is a much needed service,” said Dr. Thomas Brown, who said he’s been interested opening his third Kathy’s Urgent Care Clinic in Berlin for years. The lack of such clinics could force those in need of care into hospital emergency rooms, he said, which tend to have longer wait times and more expensive costs.
“We are thrilled because, again, we don’t have a medical walk-in,” said Economic Development Director Chris Edge, adding that he had been courting various urgent care clinics in neighboring towns to open a branch in Berlin. “It’s been one of the goals I’ve (had) for the last year and a half.”
After working as a primary care physician, Brown opened his first urgent care clinic in Wethersfield in 2015 and a second in Rocky Hill, which opened in 2017. The Berlin site, which opened Monday, is located at 175 Webster Square Road, adjacent to Harbor Freight Tools.
Incorporating the experience he’s had working with patients long term, Brown aims to provide more care than the typical walk-in clinic. For instance, he said many clinicians treating a broken shoulder would diagnose the issue and recommend that the patient seek further treatment from a specialist.
Brown aims to do more of the preliminary treatment in the clinic, which he said results in faster and cheaper care. He will work with the patient to schedule an appointment with a specialist while they are in the clinic, and he can perform some scans and send the results to the doctor following up, reducing waiting time and redundancy.
He has also declined to become formally associated with any of the hospital networks, since he prefers to be able to refer patients to wherever would be most convenient and beneficial to them. “I think the patients deserve to go wherever they want,” he said.
Since many patients he sees struggle with obesity and diabetes, he is also partnering with Don Maleto, who will be teaching health and nutrition. Maleto is also executive director of the Connecticut Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.
Brown also aims to make patients feel comfortable throughout their treatment, a practice he says hasn’t been prioritized by many physicians. Since his customers are visiting an urgent care clinic, he said many patients are already having a bad experience and he doesn’t want to see extended to their treatment.
Formerly the site of Acular Furniture, Brown said it took “creative thinking” to nestle examination room along the walls, careful to leave enough space for patients to be comfortable.
“You feel welcome, you don't feel like here’s a big huge glass window and a wall between you and the (doctor),” Edge said. “I’m amazed at how it looks, the effort and investment they put into it. It’s not your mother and father’s walk-in.”