FLOWERY BRANCH - A Gainesville medical practice that specializes in providing service in less than a half-hour to walk-in patients has expanded with new locations in Flowery Branch and Braselton.
Dr. Ayham Haddad, who founded Guilford Immediate Care Center along with his brother, Sinan, said the response has been good to the new locations which are located in two of the fastest-growing areas in the region.
"We felt there was a need in South Hall for an immediate-care facility," said Haddad. "We had patients who were coming from that area to Gainesville to seek treatment and we thought it would be a good idea to serve the areas of Braselton, Hoschton and Flowery Branch."
The Flowery Branch office is located at 7363 Spout Springs Road. The Braselton office is at 5769 Old Winder Highway.
Haddad said families in growing areas like South Hall often move there without establishing a relationship with a physician and find themselves coming through his doors in need of care.
"The face of medicine in this country has been changing and a new type of service is immediate care. You're available to the patient in less than 30 minutes and the cost is much less than going to an emergency room," he said.
He said many of his walk-in patients tend to treat the practice as a primary care practice for future needs.
The patient base for the immediate care practice cuts across a wide ranges of ages.
"We're seeing all ages, from 1 month and up," he said. "Our physicians are trained and board-certified in family practice or internal medicine and we see all age groups."
The clinics accept many insurance plans and he said most insurers prefer an immediate-care facility to more costly emergency care, when appropriate.
"The insurance companies love it. We cost them pennies compared to the emergency room," he said.
The clinics, which operate seven days a week, offer extended hours Monday through Saturday and are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
"Older people and retirees come in the morning, then we have another rush after 5 p.m. and people see the extended hours as helpful," he said.
Haddad, who now has a medical staff of four physicians and two physician's assistants, said the clinics have seasonal surges of ailments, including winter colds and flu and springtime allergies.
"In immediate care you see all kinds of cases, but you'll have patterns," he said. "I can tell you which school has strep throat this season. We become a neighborhood clinic."
Haddad said when patients are having serious conditions, such as a possible heart attack, the clinic begins emergency care and if needed, calls an ambulance to transport them to the hospital.
"Every stroke, every chest pain has to be seen by a physician and then we decide from there," he said.
He said the family owned business takes its 30-minute guarantee very seriously when it comes to seeing routine cases.
"Even if the staff is busy, the doctors will go and bring the patient in to be seen," he said. "We own this business and our reputation is very important."