On Feb. 1, Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) opened a new walk-in-care facility in the William-stown Medical Associates building on Adams Rd. in Williamstown.
BHS modeled the new facility, North County NHS Walk-In-Care, after a similar clinic it opened in Pittsfield last year. The facility will treat patients who do not need to visit the emergency room, but cannot be seen by their primary-care physician. According to the BHS website, the walk-in clinics treat a wide range of minor illnesses and injuries, from allergies and earaches to muscle pain and sickness. “The Williamstown Walk-In will help by providing a site where local residents and visitors can have their minor illnesses and injuries tended to quickly and affordably,” said Dr. Ronald Hayden, chairman of emergency medicine and medical director of Walk-In-Care.
According to iBerkshires, there is a shortage of primary-care physicians in Berkshire County. “North Berkshire is facing a particularly acute shortage of primary care providers,” said Hayden. The opening of this facility provides a low-cost alternative to visiting the emergency room when a patient wishes to receive medical assistance.
BHS staffs its walk-in-centers with nurse practitioners. Sarah Kangas, who received her doctorate in nursing practice from the University of Massachusetts, is the new facility’s nurse practitioner. “Their education and expertise is helping to enhance access to care for many in our community, and we are fortunate to have Sarah Kangas, who is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, staffing the Williamstown Walk-In,” Hayden said.
The clinic is open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, with no appointments necessary.
Ordinarily, the Health Center treats students at the College, so the new facility will not affect most student treatment. However, there may be some situations in which those on campus will make use of the new clinic.
“[The new clinic] will be a good community resource for visitors to campus and for students who remain on-campus during the winter and spring breaks when our student Health Center is closed,” said Angie Marano, director of administrative services at the Health Center.