YORK -- After a decision last May to provide around-the-clock health care to western York County, the Piedmont West Urgent Care Center will be open 24 hours starting Sunday.
Piedmont Medical Center CEO Charlie Miller said the company is excited about the new hours.
"We're happy to be more accessible to the people who need our services in western York County," he said.
To accommodate the new hours, the urgent care center between York and Filbert has added two doctors, two registered nurses, two X-ray technicians, three front- office employees and a security guard to its team.
After 8 p.m., only one doctor, one nurse, one X-ray technician, two front-office employees and one security guard will be staffed. On Saturdays at midnight, the urgent-care center will close and reopen at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Miller said the move to 24 hours is an investment in the community. He predicts the company will lose about $800,000 in the first year after the change.
He said it takes about 40 visits in a 12-hour period for a 24-hour urgent care center to sustain itself. From 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. the staff would need to see an average of 40 to 45 patients daily.
"No data suggests there's a demand for that kind of care during those hours in this area," Miller said. "At least not yet."
When Piedmont announced it would expand services, some had hopes that a full-service hospital would eventually come to the area. But Miller said a number of factors will determine whether the area will see its own hospital in the future.
"A hospital is probably something to evaluate in the next 10 years, depending on how fast that area develops," Miller said.
When Piedmont outbid other companies for the rights to build a hospital in Fort Mill, only two health service companies -- Presbyterian Health and Health Partners of America -- immediately promised 24-hour service to western York County as an addition to their bids.
"Piedmont didn't make any promises for that kind of service here," Mayor Eddie Lee said. "The new hours of operation came in a roundabout way."
Lee said that while some people in York might still prefer Presbyterian Health services, everyone seems happy with Piedmont's commitment to 24-hour emergency health care.
"This project has taken about three years to complete," Lee said. "The West Urgent Care Center has provided good service, but 24-hour health care was always our missing ingredient."
The Piedmont West Urgent Care center is located at 1190 Filbert Highway, Suite 110 in York. The phone number is (803) 628-0004.
After 8 on any night, only one doctor, one nurse, one X-ray technician, two front-office employees and one security guard will be staffed. On Saturdays at midnight, the urgent-care center will close and reopen at 1 p.m. Sunday.