BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's just what the doctor ordered for Mid-City Baton Rouge. A new clinic opened its doors Monday on North Blvd. with expanded options to keep people healthy and out of expensive hospitals.
Open Health Care Clinic offers primary care, pediatrics, endocrinology (diabetes care), and mental health services. A dental clinic will open in November under the same roof. The idea is to make going to the doctor easier and more convenient.
"It's whole care for the whole community," explained chief operating officer Kimberly Hood. "It is preventive medicine. It is keeping people healthy so that they do not access high-cost and also often risky hospitalization."
Open Health Care Clinic is designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), meaning it gets annual federal funds to provide healthcare to the medically underserved. The clinic accepts all insurances, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. No one is ever turned away based solely on their ability to pay. A sliding fee scale is available.
"So many residents living in the city of Baton Rouge have oftentimes used emergency rooms for their primary care," Councilman Lamont Cole said. "I think a health center that is primarily focused on primary care is a wonderful opportunity."
Cole said the new facility is just another piece of the puzzle in solving the issue of healthcare access in District 7 and beyond. Better primary care earlier in life can lead to better outcomes as adults.
"The one thing we have to do is make sure we're providing preventive healthcare access so young people don't get as sick from diseases and from illness that may take place as a result of not receiving those services," Cole said.
The clinic now plans to market to its new neighbors, hopefully attracting nearby families and downtown professionals.
Walk-ins are welcome or schedule a same-day appointment.
Open Health Care Clinic is located at 3801 North Blvd. It is open Monday through Friday and also offers extended hours and weekend appointments.
Open Health Care Clinic was formally known as The Caring Clinic of Louisiana. It is operated by HIV/AIDS Alliance Region Two, Inc. (HAART), which is the legal recipient of the FQHC designation.
There will be an HIV educational symposium held at the clinic from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, October 28. The theme of this year's symposium is pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, also known as PrEP.
For more information on the symposium or to register, visit the clinic's website.