Waterfront Urgent Care is a return to the MedExpress we knew and loved.
If you typically seek care for sniffles and sprains on Don Knotts Boulevard but haven’t needed to lately, you’ll notice a change next time: that former MedExpress location is now Waterfront Urgent Care.
MedExpress closed its doors there on June 3. In case you haven’t kept up, the homegrown urgent care business that was founded in 2001 and grew to a regional powerhouse hasn’t been locally owned since it was purchased by Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, in 2015.
But the new Waterfront Urgent Care that flipped the lights back south of downtown on this week is not only locally owned and operated—it’s owned and operated by one of MedExpress’s original co-founders, Kevin Blankenship.
A former emergency medicine specialist, Blankenship retired from MedExpress in 2010, only to be drawn by a family member’s addiction into addiction medicine. He founded a residential addiction recovery facility, Jacob’s Ladder, in Aurora, West Virginia, and then a sober living operation for men in Westover.
When MedExpress was getting ready earlier this summer to close its doors, a longtime office manager called Blankenship to see if he could use any of the supplies and equipment. He stopped by to take a look and, to his surprise, was hit by nostalgia.
“All the memories of this place just kind of flooded over me,” he says. It was still a busy clinic, he reflected, and surely someone else would just open an urgent care facility on the south side of town and do great. “A light bulb clicked on over my head—as though I don’t have enough irons in the fire—and I thought, I should do this. There’s a certain poetic justice in getting some of the old gang back together and delivering the quality care we made famous with MedExpress.” He talked with his wife and family, got in touch with the owners of the building, and soon had a lease.
“Some of the old gang” have joined him, too: that office manager who contacted him in the first place, along with an x-ray technician and a paramedic. His old IT director went in and set up the electronics, and he’s working with his old accounting team again. “Everybody’s jumped back on board, so it’s really bringing back a lot of memories.”
Blankenship is also excited about newcomers. His son Jacob Blankenship will work the front office, and his daughter Jaysie Blankenship, who graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College last year and is an RN, will work with the family, too.
Waterfront Urgent Care will offer all of the urgent care services one expects, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.: treatment of minor illness and injury, sports physicals, occupational medicine, COVID testing.
And Blankenship expects that patients of MedExpress in recent years will be pleased. “They should be impressed with the low wait times and the excellent customer service and care that they get from their practitioners,” he says. “We really bent over backwards in the past to take care of our patients, and we’re hoping to deliver that same level of customer service and health care that they had become accustomed to.”