By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (July 6, 2016) — When Dr. Kelly Doggett was first approached about an Affordacare Urgent Care Clinic coming to Stephenville, he planned to simply be an employee.
“I was just going to be their medical director, but then I did some research and saw the caliber of company and people I was dealing with and decided I wanted to do more than that,” said Doggett as he leaned against a wall in one of the main hallways inside the plush new 3,440 square foot Affordacare digs in the Shops at Stephenville – the old Coca-Cola building – at 2857 West Washington Street. “So I made them a proposal and ended up joining them as a partner.”
Almost a year after business talks began, Affordcacare Stephenville is in the final stages of preparing to open its doors and welcome patients. The clinic opens this Saturday, July 9. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. on weekdays, from 8-6 on Saturdays and 10-4 on Sundays. Weekday hours will eventually expand to 7-7 once Tarleton State University is back in full session.
The best thing from Doggett’s point of view, and for his patients, is the control his partners are allowing him to have over the Stephenville clinic. Doggett is well known in Stephenville, having spent more than two decades serving the town’s ill from his Convenient Care Family Medicine Clinic a little further east on the other side of Washington Street.
“They allow me the freedom to do things the way I’ve been doing them here for 20 years, and that’s what our patients know and expect,” said Doggett. “I am ready to see what initially started as just a business conversation begin to take off and where it can go from here.”
Doggett says hopeful patients who have noticed cars in the parking lot, a sign above the door and lights on have already begun to walk into the lobby.
“We’ve had to turn them away. They are already coming in and we aren’t quite ready,” he said. “But we will be on Saturday, for sure.”
Doggett said there will always be a licensed health care provider on scene and that in addition to being in and out of Affordacare himself, he can monitor everything remotely, from his office down the street or from wherever he needs.
What he’s most impressed with is the technology that makes a trip to the clinic more convenient than ever for patients.
“You can go to our website, affordacare.com, and you will see our locations in Abilene, Big Spring and Stephenville, and from right there it will tell you how long the wait time is,” he said. “We always welcome walk-ins, but if you want, you can check in right there on the website and it will keep you updated in real time.”
Doggett says there will eventually be an electronic board in the lobby that will show patients – using initials, not full names, in compliance with HIPPA laws – their expected wait time.
“With any new system there will be a few kinks, but when we get it all worked out it will be great,” he said. “We’ll have regular paper check in when we open Saturday, but the plan is to become fully electronic and digital very soon.”
While Doggett encourages patients with emergency situations to visit the Terrell Emergency Center at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, he believes the clinic will alleviate some of the stress on the emergency room.
“Anything from the flu to simple stitches, we can do it right here,” said Doggett, who even showed The Flash Affordacare’s brand new in-house digital x-ray machine. “If you can’t get into your primary physician, or just don’t want to wait, we’re here for you. Come see us and we’ll get you taken care of.”
According to its website, Affordacare “features fast, affordable quality walk-in care for minor injuries and trauma, adult and pediatric illness, sports/youth physicals, DOT/pre-employment physicals and personal injury including back pain…Treatment for non life-threatening conditions is offered seven days a week as a convenient alternative to the emergency room. Most insurances including Tricare are accepted.”
Affordacare already has two successful clinics in Abilene and one in Big Spring. The Affordacare web site says, “Founders Dr. Robbie Cooksey, Dr. John Wray, Dr. David Longley and Dr. Scott Wofford saw the need for a cost effective alternative model of health care delivery. Their vision culminated in the birth of Affordacare and thousands of satisfied customers.”
Doggett is ready to expand that vision, and the satisfactory care of patients, to Stephenville and Erath County.
And it all starts Saturday.
“We’ll do a soft open, let patients trickle in and treat them like royalty. When the fall semester gets going at Tarleton and everything is running full throttle, we’ll have a grand opening and invite the whole community out,” he said. “We’re excited. It’s another way to serve this great community and the wonderful people who live here.”