Summit Medical Group has opened the Summit Extensivist Clinic to serve Knoxville-area patients through an efficient, lower-cost model for acute illness or chronic disease exacerbations. Summit patients who visit a primary care physician or Summit Express Clinic may be referred to the Summit Extensivist Clinic in Powell for treatment and monitoring as an alternative to being admitted to the hospital.
“Extending the services available to patients outside of a hospital setting is on the forefront of modern, effective health care,” Summit Medical Group COO Ranee Guard said. “There are many assessments, treatments and aid that can be provided by a physician with hospital experience without having to send a patient to a potentially lengthy, expensive or unnecessary emergency room visit or hospital stay. Our goal, as always, is to get the right care to each patient in a timely manner, while also providing value and convenience in our community.” Brian Hughes, M.D., Ph.D., has joined Summit to oversee the care at the Summit Extensivist Clinic. Formerly a hospitalist at Fort Loudoun Medical Center in Lenoir City, Tennessee, Hughes graduated from University of Alabama School of Medicine and has been practicing for nearly 20 years. Hughes and his team will care for Summit patients referred by other providers, including primary care, specialists and urgent care clinics, who inform patients that they need care that requires them to visit the hospital – or that they may be a candidate for a new alternative – the Summit Extensivist Clinic.  
Research shows that the average urgent or acute care clinic visit costs patients up to around $125, while the average emergency room visit tops $1,300, and each hospital stay costs an average of more than $15,000. For patients who have a high-deductible plan or a high copay for ER visits, the Summit Extensivist Clinic provides not only the convenience of an outpatient setting but a cost-saving option compared to hospitalization. While self-referrals are not available, patients can ask their physicians if a referral to the extensivist clinic is appropriate. Examples of acute care intervention that many patients visit a hospital to receive but can be administered conveniently at the Summit Extensivist Clinic include intravenous fluids and antibiotics, oxygen and breathing treatments, monitors and labs to assist with the assessment and treatment of pneumonia, early sepsis and chronic illnesses such as renal failure or obstructive pulmonary disease.  
“Patients want to be informed of their options. A simple but lifesaving treatment such as IV fluids for dehydration can be provided at the clinic, saving families a trip to the ER,” Guard said. “As Knoxville has experienced firsthand the overcrowding of emergency rooms, we expect the Summit Extensivist Clinic will help alleviate that burden on our community’s health care resources by providing care in an ambulatory setting when appropriate.” The Summit Extensivist Clinic is located within the Summit Express Clinic at Powell, an urgent care clinic open seven days a week from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Conveniently located at 7545 Barnett Way, just off Interstate 75 at Emory Road near Tennova North Knoxville Medical Center, the location provides timely health services and treats acute illnesses and injuries for patients ages 2 and older. Patients do not have to be a Summit Medical Group primary care patient to visit the express clinic but must be a Summit patient to be referred to the Summit Extensivist Clinic. Patients who are treated at the Summit Extensivist Clinic may be admitted to the hospital for additional care, as needed. As always, anyone experiencing a life-threatening emergency should call 911 or proceed to the nearest hospital. Examples of such instances include major trauma or accident, heart attack or chest pain, loss of consciousness and uncontrollable bleeding. For more information about Summit Medical Group, its locations and services, visit summitmedical.com or call 865-584-4747.