LA GRANDE- La Grande patients unable to get an appointment with their regular physicians don't have to wait for care thanks to a new walk-in clinic that opened Sept. 1.
The brainchild of family nurse practitioner Dan Leone, the Obsidian Urgent Care Clinic opened its doors Wednesday. Leone said services will be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"We need a walk-in clinic in this town," Leone said. "It's a go-between, service between the emergency room and the regular provider's office."
Leone said he wanted to work "hand-in-hand" with other local providers by offering same-day medical care for those unable to wait for scheduled appointments and not wanting to access expensive ER care.
Considering the niche the clinic will fill, Leone said, "I think this piece of the pie is missing."
"I can see anybody," Leone said, noting that he expects to see both insured and private pay patients. He said he thinks the ratio will be from 50-70 percent insured. Services at the clinic will be comparable to other local providers.
Leone got a federal grant for $49,000 that will enable him to purchase equipment for the new clinic. Congress approved the appropriations for the medical care funding in January.
Leone has taken out personal loans to cover the clinic's daily operating costs. He acknowledged this as something of a risk, but said he expects to begin to repay the loans within a few months.
"I truly believe this is a good venture," he said.
Leone worked with U.S. Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, and the Small Business Development Center at Eastern Oregon University to set up the new business venture.
"He's been a great asset," Leone said of Smith.
Since graduating from the OHSU School of Nursing in 1993, Leone has worked at an urgent care clinic in Bend, his own clinic in Redmond, an Alaskan emergency room and the OHSU Family Health Clinic in Elgin.
"I've done this kind of work," Leone said. "I love it. That's why I do it."
The clinic is located on Third Street, near Adams, behind Sorbenot's Coffee House in La Grande.