Urgent Care clinics seeing more patients after hospital closure

Ambulances are stacking up at Knoxville ERs, after one hospital closed. That decreased Knoxville's ERs from five to four.

"Certainly the volume of Physicians Regional Medical Center was substantial the other four emergency rooms are going to need to pick up the slack," Dr. Eric Penniman with Summit Express Clinic said

ER's aren't the only ones seeing an increase in patients, many are now looking for an alternative with less of a wait. Summit Express says they're seeing more after closure, AFC Urgent Care told WVLT they were even too busy for an interview. Dr. Pnenniman says right now they are able to handle the demands.

"It's not looking too bad certainly here to be able to take care of those that didn't really need to be in the emergency room anyway," Penniman said. "We know that in most emergency rooms 20-30% of them could be seen in an express clinic like we have here."

He says the have plans in place in case needs for care get any higher.

"We have plans of increasing our staffing, or lengthening hours," Penniman said. "We'll do whatever we need to to make sure we can take care of our community. If there is great need because there is a big flu epidemic, we will definitely rise to the demand."