A renovation project is underway in Fayetteville at the future home of one of the state’s first MedExpress Urgent Care walk-in clinics.
A crew began demolition work this week on property just south of Sonic Drive-In at 2890 N. College Avenue. The 1.65-acre site includes a vacant building that has been home to several businesses through the years, including a carpet center and a Chinese restaurant.
City planners recently approved plans submitted by MedExpress to remodel the existing building and parking lot for a new medical facility.
MedExpress, which ranks third nationwide in number of multi-state clinics, has expanded considerably in the past two years. The West Virginia-based company currently operates 130 urgent care centers in nine states. That’s nearly double the amount of clinics it operated in early 2012.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act may have played a role in the company’s recent expansion.
Dr. Robert Maha, MedExpress’ chief medical and operating officer, said the act’s individual mandate, which requires most Americans to have health insurance, may make it more difficult for patients to get timely appointments with doctors because many more people will have health coverage.
“I think urgent care is in a good position overall, and I think the Affordable Care Act will put more focus on convenient, affordable access,” said Maha.
It’s unclear whether the state’s unique “private option” financing arrangement, which has so far helped more than 127,000 Arkansans gain coverage, played any specific role in MedExpress’ decision to expand into the area.
Regardless, the Fayetteville location looks to be part of several MedExpress clinics planned in Arkansas. According to the company’s career search website, MedExpress is currently seeking physicians and managers for upcoming jobs in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Rogers and Springdale.
MedExpress officials did not immediately return a request for comment.