The Tri-Cities has a new urgent care clinic for patients with conditions that are not life threatening.
Dr. Prabhjot “Jyoti” Kahlon, an emergency room veteran who has worked at both Kadlec Regional Medical Center and Lourdes Health, opened Health First Urgent Care on Aug. 31 at 37 Columbia Point Drive in Richland.
Kahlon and her medical team treat colds and flu, cuts, scrapes and broken bones.
The private, independent clinic also offers PCR Covid-19 testing, which looks for genetic material of the virus, with results returned in 24 to 48 hours. Covid visits are conducted via video and testing is drive-thru.
For all others, the lobby is limited to one patient.
Kahlon, who studied medicine at Ross University and trained in emergency medicine at Michigan State University, moved to the Tri-Cities with her husband to raise a family about a decade ago.
She worked part time in area ERs when the couple’s children were younger. But as they grew, she looked for a new outlet for her skills.
She and her husband, Janmeet “Rocky” Sahota, a neck and spine surgeon at Tri-City Orthopaedics, decided on opening an urgent care clinic at the entrance to Richland. The couple paid $1.2 million for a former Sleep Country store near Winco in late 2019.
They converted the 6,200-square-foot retail space into the clinic. Renovations began in early 2020, shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Construction stopped briefly after Gov. Jay Inslee issued the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to contain the spread of coronavirus in March, but resumed since health care is an essential service.
Kahlon said they used the downtime to alter the plans. They installed pathogen-killing air filters and set up the space to support limited visitors, social distancing and virtual visits. Health First has eight exam rooms and an X-ray lab.
Health First is the latest in a growing number of urgent care clinics in the Tri-Cities. Some are affiliated with area hospitals while others such as Health First are independent, usually owned and operated by physicians.
Kahlon said there was a need for another to support the region’s growing population, which passed 300,000 in 2020, according to the state Office of Financial Management.
“As a physician and a consumer of medical resources in the Tri-Cities, I believe that there is a growing need for accessible health care here. Health First Urgent Care was founded with the vision that we can deliver excellent and convenient health care in a beautiful modern facility where people are friendly, caring and competent,” she said.
Health First is independent and not affiliated with any hospitals. It accepts private pay and bills most insurance plans.
It fills the need for medical care for conditions that are too urgent to wait for an appointment with a primary care provider but not so urgent that they call for a spendy visit to a hospital emergency room.
People with major trauma such as knife or gun wounds or who are experiencing life-threatening medical conditions should call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room, not an urgent care clinic, she said.
Opening an urgent care clinic married her training as an emergency room physician with a desire for a more controlled work environment.
Kahlon said she chose the space at Columbia Point because it is easy to reach and is extremely visible from George Washington Way.
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