The company said most already use the site as an urgent care clinic, not an emergency room.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Tuality's Forest Grove healthcare facility will soon transition from providing emergency room services to being an urgent care clinic.Tuality Healthcare's emergency room in Forest Grove will go through major changes this summer, converting to an urgent care clinic on July 1.

Tuality, which has operated the facility at 1809 Maple St. for decades, said this month that the changes were part of a $6 million remodel of the Forest Grove hospital.

Tuality spokeswoman Lindsay Coon said using the site as an urgent care clinic will better serve the community because most residents use the clinic as an urgent care clinic already.

Emergency rooms treat life-threatening medical conditions, while urgent care centers cater to non-life-threatening issues, Coon said.

"In the evaluation of our current services, we have determined that our Emergency Department in Forest Grove is most often utilized as an Urgent Care, and that patients with true emergencies would be better served by the Emergency Department at Tuality Community Hospital on our Hillsboro campus," the hospital said in a statement.

The clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days per week.

Coon said patients at Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro have direct access to surgical services and doctors from Oregon Health & Science University hospital, which partners with Tuality.

Coon said the transition will impact only a handful of employees, who will transition to other departments within Tuality Healthcare.

"Our Forest Grove employees are highly valued and it is our intention to ensure that those who want to stay employed with Tuality Healthcare will have an opportunity to do so," the hospital said in a statement. "This new Urgent Care facility will allow us to serve our patients more effectively with shorter wait times and easier access, while still allowing patients in need of higher levels of care to be fast-tracked to our OHSU physicians at Tuality Community Hospital."

Patients in need of infusion will receive their care at Tuality's enhanced infusion center at the Tuality Eighth Avenue Medical Plaza on weekdays. Weekend infusion serives will be offered at Tuality Community Hospital.

Other services at the Forest Grove location will continue as normal, including the clinic's laboratory services for outside physician lab draw orders and X-rays for outside physician orders.

"There is more to come in Forest Grove," Coon said.

The urgent care clinic isn't the only change planned for the Forest Grove campus. Tuality officials also plan to add a primary care clinic to the site this year, with plans for a pharmacy, physical therapy and sport rehabilitation centers by next summer.

"We look forward to developing a true health and wellness district for those we serve in Forest Grove and providing state-of-the-art care for our most vulnerable senior patients," said Tuality Healthcare President Lori James-Nielsen.

The announcement comes a few months after Tuality announced it was closing its Center for Geriatric Psychiatry in Forest Grove.

In March, Tuality President Lori James-Nielsen said the hospital would move services for older adults with dementia and mental illness to a newer space in Hillsboro. At the time, James-Nielsen said that the hospital needed to close the center due to safety concerns at the facility, and new requirements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service.

Closure of the psychiatry unit resulted in 34 layoffs. The unit is expected to reopen in Hillsboro next year.

Coon said the hospital has fielded questions from concerned residents since April, many of whom are worried the facility will be shutting down.

"We've heard rumblings that we're moving away from the community," Coon said. "It's actually the opposite — we're trying to do more. We're committed to Forest Grove and want to meet the needs of the community. We want to operate a site where people can get everything they need."STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Emergency services will no longer be provided at the Tuality Forest Grove location starting in July.

By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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