A group of doctors joined together to not only establish the first black-owned urgent care on the South Side – but also help stem the tide of youth violence.
Premier Health Urgent Care and OCC-Health Center, 1301 E. 47th St., opened its doors late October and is the only urgent care facility in Kenwood. Saturday, they held the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The goal, says co-founder Dr. Ruben C. Rutland, is “to provide patients with quick, convenient and compassionate health care.”
The facility offers walk-in services for both urgent care and occupational health treatments for all ages. Some treatments include in-house diagnostic labs and x-rays, annual exams, ear infections, eye or ear injuries, sexually transmitted infections and more.
“We offer things the average doctor’s office won’t have, and it’s something that you can get cared for right at that moment – opposed to waiting in an emergency room for two or more hours,” Dr. Michael A. McGee, another co-founder, said.
Since its opening, Dr. Airron Richardson, the third co-founder, said treatments for STI’s, respiratory infections, sinus infections and ankle sprains have been the most common.
The trio also partnered with former Chicago Bears wide receiver Dr. Gregory Primus, who is the first African American trained in orthopedic surgery at the University of Chicago.
In addition to providing medical treatment, Rutland and McGee started the Project Outreach and Prevention organization. It helps prevent youth violence while inspiring healthy lifestyles and accessible career opportunities. A percentage of the profits from the urgent care is donated to POP to help communities combat youth violence.
“We are very big on giving back to the community,” Rutland said. “We want people to know, particularly young minority students that, ‘hey we went to college and medical school and you can do this as well.’”
Premier Health assists patients weekdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but plans to add office hours during the weekend based on demand. It accepts most private insurance companies, Medicare and Workman’s Compensation, and is working on accepting Medicaid.
“There aren’t really any urgent cares in the country who take Medicaid at the moment,” McGee said. “In the future, we want to go and expand that niche of urban environments that don’t have urgent cares, who will take Medicaid.”
The doctors are also looking to expand the practice within a year to South Shore.