Written By: Prince William Times
A Velocity Urgent Care in Woodbridge will re-open Tuesday to provide drive-up COVID-19 testing for area residents.
The clinic, which is owned by Sentara Healthcare, is located in Port Potomac at 16422 Navigation Drive. It will offer about 50 tests a day, and patients do not need to call ahead or bring a doctor’s prescription, as has been required at some COVID-19 testing sites, Alan Ayers, Velocity Urgent Care’s chief executive officer, said Thursday.
The drive-up process is intended to minimize patients’ contact with other patients and limit their time inside the clinic, Ayers said. Velocity Urgent Care began drive-up testing in Hampton Roads last week. The company launched the regimen at a Virginia Beach urgent care on Monday, and at a Newport News facility on Wednesday, Ayers said.
The Port Potomac site in Woodbridge will be the first Velocity Urgent Care to offer the testing in Prince William County, Ayers said.
How it works: Patients will drive up to the clinic’s parking lot, where they are met by staff donning protective gear. Patients remain in their vehicles to fill out paperwork and wait to be called, one by one, to enter the clinic to be examined and tested, if it deemed necessary, Ayers said.
In between each patient, examination rooms will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and staff “will entirely change their protective gear” to maintain a sterile setting, Ayers said.
The urgent care is new to the county, having just opened in January.
The clinic closed on Friday, March 27, however, because it was not yet able to offer COVID-19 testing and because its regular business dried up as people increasingly stayed at home and indoors in the wake of Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order, which was issued Monday, March 23.
Because Velocity Urgent Care has since been able to obtain testing supplies – and has enough personal protective gear for staff to support it – they’ve decided to re-open the Woodbridge clinic only for COVID-19 examinations and testing, for now, with the intention of resuming regular service as soon as possible, Ayers said.
“We see this as an opportunity – since we have the [testing] materials – to get our staff back to work and get back to a normal operation,” he said.
Starting Tuesday, April 14, COVID-19 testing will be offered at the clinic on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tests will be processed by LabCorp, which has been taking two to three business days to turn around the results, Ayers said.
The process may also include testing for influenza and other conditions if deemed necessary by the health care provider, according to a Velocity Urgent Care press release.
The cost for testing is $200, which includes a $125 examination fee and a $75 testing fee.
All major insurance plans are accepted, including Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and Veterans Administration, and there is no co-pay required, the press release said.
“Insurance companies have been directed by the government to write-off all patient [payment] responsibility related to COVID-19 testing,” the release said.
Patients without insurance, however, will be charged $200 to cover the cost of the medical exam, testing, and the protective gear changed between each patient, the release said.
The tests and exams are not particularly profitable, Ayers said. Rather, the clinic considers the testing a service to the community and an opportunity to get the clinic back on track.
“It’s labor-intensive. It’s PPE intensive, and there’s really no margin on the tests at all,” he said. “… Ultimately, the goal is to get our urgent care back open and get back to regular business.”
Both urgent care clinics and hospital emergency rooms have seen patient numbers drop since the coronavirus pandemic, Ayers said.
It’s believed that patients who might need help with other conditions – everything from bladder infections to skin rashes – are likely delaying care because they might be afraid of catching the coronavirus at a physician’s office or want to reserve resources for patients who need help with possible cases of COVID-19.
“There is some risk in people putting off other medical care,” Ayers said. “We don’t want to see these conditions get worse.”
Velocity Urgent Care can refer patients to doctors affiliated with Sentara Healthcare for help with non-COVID-19-related issues if necessary, Ayers said.
On Thursday, Prince William County had at least 299 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and four deaths related to the disease, according to the Virginia Department of Health.