LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UofL Health announced its newest Urgent Care Plus center will be in the Parkland neighborhood, hoping to fill a void in quality healthcare that has affected many residents for decades.
The Urgent Care Plus will be equipped to help patients with minor injuries and illnesses and will also offer other services, including a telemedicine suite that will connect patients to UofL Health specialists like cardiologists and psychiatrists. This is the fifth Urgent Care Plus opened by UofL Health this year, which has invested $500,000 into renovations and equipment at this facility.
"The Plus means you're not just popping in and getting your temperature taken, you're actually getting some full-scale, full-range medical assessments where needed," State Sen. Gerald Neal, D.-District 33, said.
"I see people all the time that come to my corner store and they're ill," Tammy Hawkins, a Parkland resident and business owner, said. "They're always concerned about where is the nearest doctor or is there urgent care?"
Hawkins said she has spent the last year advocating for a health clinic in the Parkland area.
"It's like a dream come true for me," she said. "To be able to walk down here, it's so accessible. The need is here."
The Parkland neighborhood is considered a federally designated Medically Underserved Area, with access to quality and affordable healthcare driven away for decades as a result of redlining and other discriminatory policies.
"When you look at the zip codes on the west and you look at the zip codes on the east, the life expectancy is lower here," Dr. Tamea Evans said. "So we have to change."
UofL President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi said part of the university and its health system's mission is to serve communities that have been affected by racist policies and have traditionally been overlooked.
"We recognize how important it is for the entire city and for the Commonwealth for West Louisville to be a vibrant, thriving community," she said.
"Being anti-racist is an active statement," Councilwoman Jessica Green, D.-District 1, said. "That means you actually do something. You bring resources to people of color, to Black people, to neighborhoods who are underserved."
Dr. Evans will be leading the medical team at the new location. She said she saw firsthand the effects that health inequity can have on communities growing up in Flint, Michigan, and she said leading the center was an easy decision to make.
"I was asked that question when I was graduating from medical school, what kind of doctor are you going to be? Are you going to be someone who just takes care of what walks in your door? Or are you going to do something about the things you see in your community affecting health? So that's why I'm here today," she said. "I want to give the best to the West. When we've been underserved for so long, we deserve the best. So I say let's put the best in the West."
UofL Health said the Urgent Care Plus is expected to open in early July.