Kaiser Permanente opened a new 4,000-square-foot clinic in the Salesforce Transit Center in downtown San Francisco on May 17 for commuters, residents, and visitors that offers same-day and walk-in doctor’s visits, a laboratory, and pharmacy services.
The Care Essentials clinic, a first of its kind in Northern California, is inspired by similar Kaiser Permanente sites in Southern California Target stores and in Bartell Drugs stores in Washington state.
The San Francisco clinic at 425 Mission Street on the second floor of the transit center is now open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The clinic is staffed by 2 clinicians, reception and lab personnel, and can accommodate patients with minor illnesses and injuries. It also offers women’s health exams, depression screening to initiate mental health care, flu shots, lab tests, and vaccinations.
The clinic features a new self-serve pharmacy kiosk that dispenses 50 of the most commonly prescribed drugs. At the kiosk, members speak to a pharmacist on a built-in phone who will verify the prescription and answer any questions
“This is about meeting patients where they are as they begin to go back to work in offices in downtown San Francisco and tourism begins to rebound,” said Maria Ansari, MD, physician in chief and chief of staff of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. “Some people who work downtown need monthly lab tests, for example, so they can do that there.”
Members can also get on-site video access to a specialist, such as a physical therapist, during their visit to the clinic.
Joseph Elson, MD, assistant chief of adult and family medicine at the Kaiser Permanente Mission Bay Medical Center, and Sean Luis, a nurse practitioner, are the 2 clinicians who will see patients at the new clinic.
“I see this clinic concept as a move away from the multi-specialty office building to a small, well-equipped, free-standing clinic that can meet patient needs,” said Dr. Elson, who has worked at Kaiser Permanente 35 years. Luis added the clinic is “evolving to meet the needs of members who work downtown,” and who prefer an in-person visit.
Those in-person visits are currently more in demand now that members are becoming comfortable visiting doctors as the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic diminishes.
The Care Essentials clinic will satisfy some of that pent-up demand, said Kevin Hart, Kaiser Permanente Northern California senior vice president of strategic development and technology.
“During the pandemic, there was a lot of telehealth and virtual care, but now we are seeing the opposite with members wanting in-person visits, because a lot of them fell behind on routine and preventive care,” said Hart. “Giving members that option to be seen in person will allow us to shine.”
Hart said Kaiser Permanente is considering other Care Essentials clinics “in really busy corridors in Northern California.”
“As cities and towns bounce back post-pandemic, we will be there with this concept of convenience,” said Hart. “It’s an opportunity to excel at great care and grow our brand.”