CLINIC OPEN 16 HOURS DAILY PATIENTS WALK IN FOR URGENT CARE AT EX-HOSPITAL.
LANCASTER - A walk-in urgent-care clinic, accepting patients 16 hours a day, opened Tuesday at the former High Desert Hospital, which has been converted to an outpatient center.
The walk-in clinic at the former hospital, now called the High Desert Health System, will operate from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.
``It's the first day of a new system. It's actually smoother than I thought it might be,'' said Mary Ann Ludwig, a Palmdale resident who was getting a follow-up checkup for her hypertension. ``It's running fairly smoothly. Everybody's falling into a routine.''
The clinic is located in the Ambulatory Care Center building west of the main building. The clinic previously provided primary care by appointment, as well as walk-in care, but was open fewer hours.
The clinic will expand access to medical treatment for patients of all ages who require same-day care for conditions that are not life-threatening.
``It was part of our commitment to expand ambulatory care with the transition of the hospital to an outpatient facility,'' assistant administrator Tim Moore said.
The clinic's clients include Medi-Cal patients, people who don't have insurance and people enrolled in special county programs that provide financial assistance.
The system's on-site pharmacy hours also will be increased - from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
On-site X-ray and laboratory services also will be available to support the urgent-care clinic.
The former hospital's surgical service has been licensed as an ambulatory surgery center, enabling the facility to continue providing outpatient surgery and special procedures.
Other outpatient services available at the former hospital site include adult primary care and pediatric primary care. There is a network of specialty clinics.
County health officials closed down High Desert's inpatient wards and converted the hospital to an outpatient facility July 1 to cut costs.
Radiology, laboratory and support services remain inside the main building of the former hospital, Moore said.
County officials are working on a long-term plan to convert the main building's closed inpatient wards for outpatient services, Moore said.
Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744
(1 -- color) Patients await their turns Tuesday at the walk-in medical clinic at the former High Desert Hospital, now an outpatient center.
(2 -- color) Nurse Lorene Price examines Maryann Ludwig at the High Desert walk-in clinic.
(3) A 16-hours-a-day clinic operates in the Ambulatory Care Center building on a former hospital campus in Lancaster.
Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer