ILLINOIS MEDICAL DISTRICT — The city’s first health care center to have both urgent and specialty care offered under one roof officially opened to the public early Monday.
The five-story, 122,000-square-foot Mile Square Health Center at 1220 S. Wood St. will offer access to mammograms, cancer screenings and a range of other services not offered at other community heath centers in the city.
The new health center is one of 12 Mile Square centers currently operated by University of Illinois Health and UIC — many of which are located on the city's South and West sides.
Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice president for community-based practice at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health, said the very creation of the center sets a national precedent.
“With its impact, it could honestly become a national model,” Winn said. “It’s bigger than the university, it’s bigger than Chicago. It’s big.”
Winn said patients now have access to family medicine, pediatric and gynecological services at the center. In another month, patients will have access to mental health services, radiology, ultrasounds, chest X-rays and mammography services. By next year, dental care and screenings for rectal cancers and liver disease will be available to patients.
The center was partly funded by a $12 million competitive grant awarded to UIC specifically for the construction of new federally qualified health care centers under the Affordable Care Act. Mile Square was designed by Moody-Nolan architects, the largest African-American architectural firm in the United States, and is also LEED certified for both green energy and water conservation.
With its proximity to both the Roosevelt Road bus line and Pink and Blue "L" lines, the new center can be easily reached by people who rely heavily on public transportation to travel around the city, Winn said. Patients who need additional care will be referred to the UI Hospital, two blocks over.
Getting patients in the habit of using the urgent care facility for non-emergency illnesses and preventive care ultimately will save costs associated with unnecessary trips to the emergency room, Winn said.
Mile Square’s new center has a sliding-scale option for those with limited insurance and options for the uninsured.
The center is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays and closed on Sundays.