If you can’t stop stop sneezing and coughing during yoga class at the Dowd YMCA, a doctor is now only an elevator ride away.
An Atrium Health office, which opens on Monday inside the newly renovated YMCA, is meant to provide community-centered health that incorporates fitness and nutrition into patient care, according to the Charlotte health care provider.
It’s the first YMCA in Charlotte to offer primary care services such as wellness exams and same-day sick visits. The office is also the third YMCA site to offer rehabilitation services like physical therapy, said Alisahah Cole, vice president and system medical director of community health at Atrium.
The Dowd site will also offer virtual visits, which allow patients to meet with a medical provider over live video to receive treatment for minor illnesses.
“We really started to think about, ‘How do we get primary care out to the community?’ ” Cole said.
The new primary care facility, like the rest of Atrium’s practices, will treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. The practice will accept federal insurance programs Medicare, for seniors and people with disabilities, and Medicaid, for low-income residents.
Of the Dowd YMCA’s 16,000 members, one in four earn an annual income of less than $20,000, according to the YMCA. Membership fees are scaled based on an individual’s income.
Dr. Lydia Efird, who will work at the new practice, said the location improves the distribution of healthcare options within Charlotte.
The Atrium practice is part of an extensive renovation project of the Dowd YMCA that broke ground in April 2017.
The site, which sees daily traffic of about 3,000 people, now includes more dedicated spaces for such areas as an outdoor track, crossfit, yoga and barre studios, said Joe Angelon, executive director of the Dowd YMCA.
Efird said she hopes that Atrium’s location in the Y will encourage members to take control of their health.
“(It’s) just here to set a good example as the kinds of lifestyles that we are really hoping that our patients will take on,” Efird said.