Staffing shortages forced Atrium to close some urgent care clinics Sunday

Staffing shortages forced Atrium to close some urgent care clinics Sunday
(Credit: Davie Hinshaw | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Deon Roberts/The Charlotte Observer) - In a rare move, a pair of Atrium Health urgent care clinics were forced to close last Sunday because of staffing shortages, the hospital system confirmed.

The two clinics, in Huntersville and Davidson, are normally open seven days a week, according to Atrium's website, which lists 30 total urgent care clinics in the Charlotte metro area.

Charlotte-based Atrium confirmed the Easter closures and staffing issues in a statement to the Observer, noting it was the first time in three years the system was unable to cover shifts at urgent care locations.

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"This past week, out of the over 210 shifts to cover, we had five shifts at a few locations that did not have the appropriate staff needed to fully serve our patients, largely due to spring break in the Charlotte area," Atrium said.

"Our physicians and other health care providers who staff our urgent care locations, like any other organization, have life events that take place, like illness, family emergencies and vacations," Atrium said. "When we have to make the difficult, but appropriate, decision to temporarily closing a location, we try to ease the inconvenience with online reservation options at nearby locations, as well as telehealth options like virtual visits and eVisits.

Atrium has continued to build its urgent care footprint in the region, noting that treatments at the clinics are often at a lower cost than the emergency department. Atrium also noted the system of clinics is open 365 days a year, requiring nearly 11,000 shifts to cover each year.

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In January, Atrium announced the opening its first 24/7 urgent care clinic in Charlotte. That facility is at East Morehead Street and South Kings Drive, next to the system's flagship hospital in Dilworth.