Family Medicine has been running an Immediate Care service at Richmond Clinic since 2013. In late 2019, the department added one to our South Waterfront clinic with four providers, with a plan to expand the service in all Family Medicine clinics in the tri-county area plus Columbia County – since then, we’ve opened Scappoose and Beaverton locations. Little did anyone know just how quickly this team would expand, and how essential they would become in just a matter of months.
When COVID-19 hit Oregon the following March, Immediate Care became the true frontline defense against the virus. With scheduled primary care visits going virtual, and a strong impetus to keep patients out of the emergency department, Immediate Care was the place for COVID patients to be seen in person.
Now, with four sites – South Waterfront, Beaverton, Richmond, and Scappoose – and 16 providers, this team is leading the way in COVID treatment and care in the community.
Meet the team:
Sydney Thompson, FNP, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, is the APP Lead for the Immediate Care team. “People jumped into this role and saw COVID patients every day, including weekends, for months on end. All while opening a clinic.” Referring to the respiratory clinic, which opened in about two weeks, Sydney says: “I don’t know of any other instance of opening up a clinic that quickly – with all new protocols and new staff from across the institution – to serve the mission of getting people seen.”
“This team was quickly required to become COVID specialists,” says Daisuke Yamashita, MD, Family Medicine Director of Outpatient Care and Quality. “They were dealing with the unknown, and were sometimes literally the first ones to try a new approach to COVID care.”
Sydney recalls the original nervousness from both providers and patients around giving and receiving care virtually and by phone, but the team was able to quickly get comfortable with it. “We’ve helped a lot of people during the pandemic – people who just needed a medication but couldn’t come into a clinic. And who would’ve thought we’d be delivering health care in people’s cars?” Beaverton, Scappoose, and Richmond all have drive-up offerings.
It’s not just COVID tests and vaccines, either: These sites provide more full-service care, taking the pressure off the Primary Care clinics, and often getting people set up with Primary Care providers who didn’t have one before.
“Immediate Care has taken care of the community, but more than that, they challenged us to rethink what community is,” Dr. Yamashita says. “Beyond just people who have established care with a PCP – this team has shown us that our community is truly everyone around us.”
“They've worked so incredibly hard and been so incredibly flexible since the beginning,” Sydney says. “It's been amazing to see how the team shares information across OHSU and with the community, and their ability to use humor to navigate through all this together.”
Immediate Care isn’t done expanding, either. In 2022, Family Medicine is aiming to have all the clinics open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 365 days a year – a true service to the communities that have come to rely on this team for excellent care when it’s needed most.
"We can all take care of COVID patients, we just have to be good about our PPE. None of us ended up getting COVID while in clinic, so it's possible we can all do it safely."
—Teressa Raine, PA-C
"It's been difficult for other departments to know how to integrate our services. Every specialty is having challenges with patient access, and we're trying to figure that out as well. Immediate Care is constantly evolving and changing, and we're hoping our role becomes clearer to others and to ourselves. We're just trying to provide the best service to our patients; it's an honor to be serving people in a time of need."
—Angela Wynia, PA-C