A facility that opened in downtown Columbus four years ago to deliver health care in an innovative way is changing its business model as care clinic services are shifted to another location.

Columbus Regional Health, which opened WellConnect at Third and Washington streets in December 2013, is transitioning the care center to its PromptMed clinic at 2502 25th St.

However, health and wellness education classes, and community specialists who connect residents to local resources will remain at WellConnect, said Kelsey DeClue, spokeswoman for Columbus Regional Health.

The transition, which has begun and is expected to be completed within the first quarter of next year, will include additional types of wellness services added to WellConnect’s lineup, DeClue said. The transition will include some care center staff transferring to PromptMed, she said.

Several factors contributed to the decision, including patient volume, access to care and available parking, DeClue said.

The decision to create WellConnect was based on discussions with focus groups, results from online surveys, and changes that saw more people living and working downtown. Columbus Regional invested $940,000 to remodel the 4,700-square-foot office space.

Its care clinic, intended for minor illnesses and immunizations, saw 311 patients in 2014, 357 in 2015 and 405 in 2016, according to the health system.

Those numbers were below projections, she said.

Also, patients sometimes didn’t understand the level of care provided at WellConnect and arrived seeking care that required referral to an urgent care center such as PromptMed, DeClue said.

WellConnect lacked dedicated parking spaces like other downtown businesses. While the health and wellness center was within walking distance for many users, others had to hunt for public parking spaces.

“It’s all about access and being able to provide patients with one-stop shopping,” DeClue said.

Moving WellConnect’s care center to PromptMed makes sense, DeClue said, because it’s easily accessible, provides a full spectrum of urgent care and its services are well known because the clinic has been in the community more than 20 years.

Another factor was that the health and wellness services — such as Lunch and Learn events, fitness classes and community specialists — at WellConnect were the most popular, DeClue said.

Additional services that act as a supplement to healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle wellness will be added, DeClue said.

Because the concept of WellConnect is still relatively new in the community, Columbus Regional thought now was the right time to make a transition, DeClue said.

Columbus Regional has been notifying patients in WellConnect’s database of the changes. A letter sent to Bartholomew County government employees, dated Nov. 14, said that as of Nov. 23 the care center portion of WellConnect would move to the PromptMed urgent care center.

“The PromptMed 25th Street location allows our patients better access to more providers and a wider range of healthcare services and hours,” the letter said.

The letter also noted that WellConnect’s hours would change from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

About WellConnect

Opened: December 2013

Location: 237 Washington St. (in 4,700 square-foot office space)

Services: Connection specialists, educational resources; wellness programs, insurance navigation

Phone: 812-343-9840

Web page: crh.org/service-centers/wellconnect

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.