Unlocking the Doors to Timely Care: The After Hours Clinic at Nexus Health Care

Tamara Bumpus – right – NHA Nurse Practitioner

By Asia Nail
The Truth Reporter

In the intricate web of healthcare accessibility, after-hours care emerges as a crucial thread, often overlooked but essential for weaving a safety net against unforeseen health challenges.

In the heart of the central city, the Neighborhood Health Association (NHA) is unfurling a beacon of hope for working class Toledoeans— the Harry F. Brown After-Hours Clinic at Nexus Health Care. As expanded hours unveil, it’s not merely a change in schedule—it’s a revolutionary act in the realm of healthcare equity.

Imagine this as a bridge connecting patients with timely healthcare when most primary care offices strictly adhere to closing at 5 p.m. The clinic, open Monday through Friday, will accept walk-in patients until 4 p.m. on Mondays and 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Future plans include weekend hours.

Beyond the Clock: The Life-saving Truths of Extended Hours

Tamara Bumpus works for the NHA as a tenured family nurse practitioner. She is excited for patients who will benefit from the flexibility that this clinic offers. “During these extended hours, we navigate the complexities of chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and COPD,” explains Bumpus. “Additionally, we offer same-day access appointments graciously on a first come, first served basis.”

These appointments become a saving grace refrain for moments of acute need—whether you’re feeling unwell, running out of crucial medications, or seeking prompt attention for a refill, the After-Hours Clinic at Nexus Health Care has you covered.

Examples of other symptoms that can be treated at the after-hours clinic include upset stomach, sprains, earache, rashes, flu or upper respiratory symptoms, seasonal allergies, sports physicals or even vaccines for school for your child.

“When we see patients early on and provide the proper medications we can prevent critical outcomes like, loss of vision, kidney transplants or amputations drastically,” explains nurse practitioner Bumpus.


The After-Hours Maze: Understanding the Gaps

The after-hours care oasis is not equally accessible to all, creating a landscape where certain communities find themselves on the outskirts of timely health care. As nurse Bumpus explains, “Most people work 9-5 and can’t get off to see a doctor. Having the ability to be seen from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. is a game changer.”

To comprehend the labyrinth of after-hours care disparities, we delve into the findings of a recent study. The Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice conducted a national study in 2021 on the disproportions in access to after-hours care in the U.S. It reveals that the majority of disparities exist along lines of income, geographic location, and insurance type.


Only 29 percent: The Stark Reality of After-Hours Care Availability

In the vast expanse of healthcare, only 29 percent of U.S. primary care practitioners extend their services beyond regular office hours. Compare this to the Netherlands, with a staggering 97 percent, and 89 percent in the United Kingdom, and suddenly the landscape of after-hours care availability in the U.S. transforms into a stark contrast, leaving many in the dark when they need health care the most.


Beyond Office Hours: The Urgent Need for Access

“The importance of after-hours care is evident,” says nurse practitioner Bumpus. “We recognize most of our working-class patients often face urgent medical issues outside the conventional office hours and the NHA decided to do something about it.”

For those battling chronic conditions or experiencing acute exacerbations, after-hours care is more than a convenience—it’s a lifeline. Timely access not only aids in early diagnosis but also prevents complications, reducing the need for high-cost emergency interventions. As nurse practitioner Bumpus says, “When we see patients early on or even provide the proper medications, we can prevent some critical outcomes like, loss of vision, kidney transplants or amputations.”


Emergency Room Odyssey: The Cost of Inefficiency

The U.S. sees between 12 percent and 56 percent of emergency room visits categorized as non-serious or non-urgent problems. “Many patients have medical conditions that can be efficiently managed through primary care and early interventions,” explains Bumpus. “We are one of few facilities equipped to assist those maintaining chronic conditions as well.”

The journey to the emergency room for non-serious medical concerns and chronic care maintenance is not just a health care choice but an economic inefficiency. After-hours care at the Clinic at Nexus Health Care, not only helps to redirect these visits, but also optimizes Toledo’s health care resources.


A Model for Future Research: Unlocking Opportunities

Beyond its immediate impact, the extended hours Clinic at Nexus Healthcare may become fertile ground for future research endeavors. This model offers a unique lens through which researchers can explore the efficacy of after-hours care in addressing health disparities. By delving into the clinic’s operations, studying patient outcomes, and understanding the dynamics of healthcare delivery during extended hours, researchers can glean valuable insights into the effectiveness of such initiatives.


Toledo as the Catalyst: Insights for Systemic Change

As the clinic navigates the challenges inherent in the U.S. health care system, it not only provides tangible benefits to the community but also offers a case study for systemic change. Future researchers can examine how Nexus Healthcare overcomes hurdles related to funding, policy support, reimbursement, and provider communication skills. These promising insights, derived from real-world implementation, could possibly become a blueprint for refining healthcare policies, advocating for funding reforms, and addressing organizational barriers on a much broader scale. Thanks to this transformative work, Toledo can now explore the socio-cultural factors that contribute to the clinic’s success, providing valuable context for future initiatives.


Closing the After-Hours Gap: A Call for Equity

After-hours care should not be a privilege but a right, ensuring that no one is left suffering when seeking essential healthcare beyond the traditional office hours. The after-hours clinic is located at the south entrance of the Nexus Health Care building, located at 1415 Jefferson Ave., Toledo, Ohio, 43604.

We honor your efforts in reaching every corner of our community, dispelling the shadows of disparities and illuminating the path to timely, accessible, and equitable healthcare for all.

About NHA: Through exceptional health care services, the Neighborhood Health Association empowers and educates, aggressively working to eliminate health care inequities, while supporting personal responsibility for one’s own health regardless of the ability to pay. For more information Visit www.nhainc.org.