With more than 70 centers across the U.S., one homegrown medical clinic is helping people in ways only imagined by its young founders.
Founded 10 years ago, a single MedExpress clinic in Morgantown’s Wharf District has become the foundation for quick care in more than 70 locations. Today, the medical network employs 2,000 people across four states.
It all began with a grassroots effort led by a team of young innovators. Dr. Frank Alderman, now CEO of MedExpress, was one-fourth of that equation. When he was growing up in White Sulphur Springs 30 years ago, a cut that required stitches meant a visit to the emergency room. When he had a fever, an appointment with the family’s doctor was in order. He realized early on that there must be a better way. In 2001, during his emergency medicine residency at West Virginia University School of Medicine, he took action. Together with classmates Bryan Stuchell, Christian McCarter, and Kevin Blankenship, Alderman opened an urgent care facility in the heart of Morgantown. “We were all in emergency medicine residency training together,” Alderman says. “The initial vision was to provide access to high-quality, affordable health care in a patient-centric manner. We all had varying strengths and divided up responsibilities to get the job done.” Stuchell became chief medical officer of MedExpress, and McCarter is executive vice president. Blankenship left the company in late 2009 to pursue other opportunities. The goal was to create a single, successful center with top-notch patient care, and then the group would see where that led, Alderman says.
“We wanted to make sure that every person who walked through the doors of our clinic had an optimal experience, from the smiling face who greeted them to the medical care they received,” says Julie Penn, chief marketing officer for MedExpress. “We spent time adjusting and honing and making sure we got it right. By the time the second center opened in Washington, Pennsylvania, we had perfected the model.” Centers continued to be “grown organically” in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, Penn says, and ones in Florida and Colorado were added via acquisition. Some of the newest clinics are located in Lebanon, Allison Park, Wexford, Edwardsville, and Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
The patient-centered approach is priority and focuses on everything from abrasions to asthma attacks to the flu—medical needs that are urgent, but not necessarily emergent—bridging the gap and offering care 12 hours a day, every day, without appointments. “The Morgantown health care system is very impressive, and our goal is to work positively with the local health care systems—coordinating and collaborating on patient care whenever possible,” Alderman says.
MedExpress focuses on prevention, too, providing thousands of immunizations each year, not to mention patient education and screenings. “Wellness and prevention are critical to keep patients and employees healthy and productive,” Alderman says. “We strive to educate all patients on the benefits of healthier lifestyles.” On-site sports physicals and on-location prescriptions round out the clinic’s services. Keeping on the forefront of health reform also ranks high on Alderman’s priority list. He’s a regular on Capitol Hill and maintains close working relationships with state senators and congressmen.
In 2011, MedExpress served more than one million patients. How many MedExpress medical centers will ultimately open has yet to be seen. “Our existing model is innovative, and we are constantly striving to innovate and polish it where possible to the benefit of our patients and employer groups,” Alderman says. “The number of centers we have and the number of patients we treat will and is changing, but the vision will always remain the same. The patient is the center of our universe.”
MedExpress has urgent care centers in Beckley, Bridgeport, Charleston, Lewisburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Princeton, Weirton, and Wheeling.
MedExpress National Headquarters, 1751 Earl Core Road, Morgantown, WV 26505; 304.225.2500; medexpress.com