West Getting Easier Access To Health Care

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - April 23, 2008
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Access Medical Clinic has officially opened for patients at Longs Drug Store in Ewa Town Center.

Since Jan. 25, business partners Raymond Bihis of the Convenient Care Association and Dr. Todd Kubo, a Kaneohe internist, have made sure this operation runs smoothly.

“Access Medical Clinics, or AMC, will be the first of its kind in Hawaii,“said Kubo.“AMC will increase the availability to medical care at non-traditional times. Perhaps the greatest impact will be on the working families that cannot get to the physician’s office during the normal work day. AMC is particularly good for families where both parents work and they need to obtain care for their children after hours.”

Bihis, a former Ewa resident, added,“Because of overbuilding, which then resulted in difficulty in accessing medical help, we felt that being in the Ewa location is a good place to provide access to people in the community. Now they won’t have to drive that far for simple services.”

Better known as Convenience Care Clinics,these small healthcare facilities are typically located in high-traffic stores with pharmacies - a wellness movement already popular in Mainland chains Target, CVS,Wal-Mart and Walgreens. However, Kubo said that Hawaii’s AMCs differ greatly from those found in the Mainland centers.

“First, we are physician-owned and operated,” he explained. “We employ physicians who actually see the patients in our clinics along with overseeing the physician assistants and nurse practitioners. We are not owned by our host pharmacy (Longs), so we do not have a conflict of issue with how much or what we prescribe for our patients.”

What AMC will provide is affordable and accessible health-care to non-emergency ailments such as cold or flu, rashes and muscle sprains. Bihis explained that through the use of Electronic Health Records, a state-of-the-art record-keeping system, AMC physicians are able to coordinate care between different healthcare providers and ensure consistency between visits. Immunizations, physicals and preventive health screenings are also provided. Those with more serious conditions will be referred to their primary care provider or, if the situation arises, a hospital emergency room.

“It is important to stress that AMC is designed to take care of patients for acute care needs only; all other care rightfully remains with the patient’s regular doctor,” Kubo stated.“That means conditions such as diabetes, high-cholesterol and high blood pressure are not managed at AMC. Our physicians may ‘trouble-shoot’ when needed, but long-term care will be returned to the patient’s medical home.”

A second clinic opened Feb. 9 at Longs Drugs in Mililani Town Center, and Bihis said that judging from the success of both, more are anticipated to follow.

“Those who have gone through the clinics are just ecstatic and are just fascinated with the convenience,” he said.“They are very satisfied with our physicians, who they can see without any appointments.”

The two-room clinic located in the back of Longs is open to anyone, no appointments necessary. Services run approximately $50; cash, private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare accepted. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 685-0330 or visit www.accessmedicalclinics.com for more information.

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