Twelve years ago, urgent care provider MedExpress was just a one-location medical startup operating a single clinic in Morgantown's Wharf District. Today, the company is made up of 114 locations in nine states.
MedExpress officials attribute this phenomenal growth to the company's strategy of providing what they call "in-between care."
The company was founded by four West Virginia University School of Medicine classmates -- Drs. Bryan Stuchell, Christian McCarter, Kevin Blankenship and Frank Alderman -- who realized during their residency that the emergency room model of urgent care wasn't working as well as it should.
"We were founded in Morgantown by a group of ER physicians who saw a vision and a need for treating conditions that weren't necessarily best suited for the emergency room but needed to be taken care of," MedExpress area manager Tracy Martin said.
At the time, the four doctors saw a lot of patients who had to sit for hours in an ER waiting room to get a prescription or treatment for more common problems like the flu, sore throats or sinus infections.
These were patients who didn't have time to wait on an appointment with their primary care physician but whose symptoms were not severe enough to warrant immediate attention at the ER.
That's when the four doctors decided to start up a clinic to focus on those types of patients -- one that could take walk-ins seven days a week, treat urgent needs and still get patients in and out in less than 45 minutes.
"They had the vision and saw the need for this in-between care," Martin said, "where you can't get to your primary care doctor and you don't want to go to an emergency room."
When Martin joined the company in 2007, it had already opened three additional clinics -- one in West Virginia and two in Pennsylvania. Since then, the company has grown rapidly by opening new locations and merging with other urgent care companies in other states.
MedExpress now employs more than 3,000 people at clinics in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee and Florida.
Last month, the company opened its 19th West Virginia location along W.Va. 34 in Hurricane. The company is also planning to open a second location in Huntington and a third in Charleston in the near future.