Sunday, May 19, 2019
Sterling Urgent Care Aims to Cut Health Care Costs
Kurt Hathaway shows off the X-ray machine.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018


One patient called from Disneyland, requesting a doctor’s consult about her child’s earache.

Others don’t think twice when they need to walk in without an appointment or when they have to make multiple trips in a single month to treat children’s illnesses, sprains and other maladies.

Sterling Urgent Care, which opens its doors today in Hailey, makes doctor’s visits as painless and inexpensive as possible, said Kamie Prior.

Renie Miller, of Hagerman, is ensuring the lab room is up to speed by today.

Prior handles drug screening and billings for the urgent care center, which opens today at 507 S. Main St. in Hailey. And she says that one of the unique things about the clinic is its membership policy.

A membership costs $50 a month per individual or $100 a month for a family of four. And members may avail themselves of the clinic as many times as needed.

They pay only for the cost of X-rays, lab work or medications. And lab work and X-rays cost members just $15—below the cost of a X-ray that costs on average between $260 and $460. Prepackaged generic medications cost members $10.

The idea is to provide more affordable health care for those with high deductibles of $5,000 or $10,000.

Sterling Urgent Care sits at 507 S. Main St.

“We’re not trying to replace health insurance but supplement it. We take Medicare, Medicaid and all the major insurance plans,” said Matti Bates, marketing communications manager for the clinic.

The clinic also partners with employers who want to offer their employees memberships to supplement their insurance plans, said Kurt Hathaway, the clinic’s business development director.

“Companies are finding that they are saving money because we handle 96 percent of the claims employees would file. So, instead of getting premium increases because their employees are filing expensive claims, they’re getting decreases,” he said.

“Companies love us because they feel someone is working with them to cut health care costs. And we’ve heard from patients who say we helped them catch things like high blood pressure that they wouldn’t have known about otherwise because they couldn’t afford wellness checks.”

Workers readied one of the reception desks on Monday.

On Monday, tool sets containing hammers and wrenches sat on counters instead of stethoscopes and thermometers as construction workers scurried to finish the remodel for today’s opening.

But Renie Miller and others stood in the lab room practicing drawing blood from one another and testing the lab machines.

The employee-owned Sterling Urgent Care was started in 2012 by Scott Brown who had been an administrator at a hospital in Texas. When he learned a large company with 2,500 employees was going to look for health care elsewhere, he offered to open a clinic for that company. He ended up saving the company more than a million dollars a year and decided it was a concept worth spreading.

He opened the first Sterling Urgent Care in Idaho Falls, then added a clinic in Burley, two clinics in Logan,   Utah, and clinics in Afton and Lyman, Wyo. Its 125-plus employees now see about 70,000 patients a year, the number growing as the number of clinics grow.

Hopefully, these boxes will be emptied and the beds ready for clients by today.

The clinics serve businesses with as few as three employees and 2,500-plus. They include meat processors, furniture stores, utility companies, metal fabricators, dairy farms and restaurants.

Investors with the Burley clinic advocated opening a clinic in Hailey and market research showed the town could avail itself of such a clinic, said Hathaway.

The Hailey clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays initially. If there is enough demand, it will open Sundays, as well. The clinic will also offer telemedicine so people can take care of things online.

“We offer people the choice of walking into the emergency room or coming to urgent care for an eighth the cost” said Hathaway.

The clinic will initially be staffed with a couple physicians, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners who will rotate three days on and four days off.

“Ideally, doctors will move here if they don’t already live here,” said Hathaway.

One physicians can typically see up to 45 patients in a 12-hour period, treating injuries, colds, flu and other common illnesses and performing vaccinations. They will also be able to conduct physical exams and deal with workers compensation cases.

The clinic will offer an online check-in system so patients have to wait no more than 10 minutes. An app will allow patients to do e-visits with the provider. The app is free for members and $45 for non-members.

Should a patient need a referral to a specialist, the clinic will provide concierge care, locating the best procedures at the best price. It will do the same with things like MRIs.

“We’ve been able to offer patients a choice of an MRI that costs $1,300 and one costing $250 that may be an hour away,” Bates said.

Peak Physical Therapy, which shares the building, underwent a remodel at the same time. Having a clinic so close will be a bonus to patients needing occupational or physical therapy, Hathaway said.

Bates noted that the average healthy person visits a doctor three times a year for things like sports physicals and prescription refills.

“It’s urgent care but people come in for patient care,” she said. “You can get a lot of cuts and bangs and scrapes through a lifetime so what we offer is great for families.”


Today’s a soft opening for Sterling Urgent Care. The clinic plans to have a grand opening after the first of the year. To learn more visit


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