Downtown workers, residents and visitors now have a convenient health center nearby with the opening of HealthOn Broadway.
A joint venture between Tucson Medical Center and El Rio Health, HealthOn Broadway is a modern, integrated health center, providing state-of-the-art primary care, health education and wellness coaching to any community member. A grand opening for HealthOn Broadway was held on April 3rd.
TMC and El Rio Health have a history that goes back decades, says Julia Strange, Vice President of Community Benefit for Tucson Medical Center.
“When we started to consider downtown for a growth opportunity, we naturally talked to our colleagues at El Rio,” she says. “Our collaboration on community projects is well established and they’ve always been great partners for us.”
With a highly visible location on the streetcar line at 1 W. Broadway – on the southwest corner of Broadway and Stone Avenue – the center features extended hours, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“For years, TMC has been engaging downtown in wellness opportunities such as Meet Me at Maynards, and we've been watching the development evolve in that area. Between all of the workers and all of the people who live down there, there’s really not a good solution for health care that’s accessible right in the downtown core,” Strange says. “We really felt like there was an opportunity to meet the needs of an underserved area downtown, and that this location is ideal.”
El Rio Health, which about a year ago relocated its administrative campus to the historic Manning House, sees a strong demand among its own employees and other downtown businesses for efficient, affordable, convenient, quality care nearby.
“We see opportunities to work with downtown businesses on reducing health care costs and we think HealthOn Broadway will be appealing to our own employees. It’s a more comfortable setting than the big centers,” says Nancy Johnson, CEO of El Rio Health. “We also have some downtown residents who have become El Rio patients in anticipation of HealthOn Broadway. We want our patients to have great access to care and we see this new site as a great resource for them.”
The 8,211 square-foot facility has eight providers and is able to accommodate 7,000 patient visits per year. Prospective patients could establish HealthOn Broadway as their primary health care home, or visit as needed and the clinic will connect with their primary care physicians, Johnson says.
“We’re really focusing on health improvements,” Johnson says. “If you come in for a sore throat, we’ll also talk about your health goals. It’s not just episodic visits. We’re really committed to improving the health of our community.”
HealthOn Broadway has state-of-the-art facilities including a laboratory and general X-ray on site, along with physicians, nurse practitioners and a physical therapist to provide care. But the clinic also includes a classroom for health education and classes for yoga and stretching. And established El Rio patients will be able to download a smart phone app to conduct virtual eVisits over encrypted video, adding even more convenience.
“It’s designed not just to be a place to go when you’re sick or for an annual exam, but a place that can really help you manage your health,” Strange says. “It is really a forward thinking approach to primary care and we are expecting it to be pretty popular.”
With a new business opening downtown on average every two weeks – and with the arrival of a major employer like Caterpillar – there is an ever-increasing population of downtown employees. And with a location chosen specifically because of its proximity to new residential developments on Stone and Broadway, HealthOn will focus on serving the expanding number of downtown dwellers as well.
“We’re both locally owned, both major leaders in health care and philosophically we both have strong commitments to creating healthy communities,” Johnson says. “We were both interested in downtown, so we decided it would be a good joint venture.”
The downtown partnership is expected to become a model for other neighborhood-focused clinics. In fact, TMC and El Rio established HealthOn Broadway under the umbrella of HealthOn Tucson LLC.
“It’s really very innovative for a hospital and a community health system to come together in this way. What you’ll see in this center is an approach to health care that is different than you might see elsewhere,” Strange says. “It’s really been our challenge to push the boundaries and make sure we’re not just opening a clinic, but creating something that’s unique and meaningful to the community.”
By Eric Swedlund