ConvenientMD Urgent Care
From left: Mark Pundt, president and chief medical officer; Cody Shea, COO; and Gareth Dickens, CEO. Photo by Christine Carignan.
In just eight years, ConvenientMD has gone from startup to health care juggernaut. The urgent care provider started with a single clinic in Windham and now has almost 30 clinics in three states and 1,246 employees (763 in NH alone).
ConvenientMD services more than 500,000 patient visits annually and provides health care to 4,000 employers.
And, Gareth Dickens, CEO, says the pandemic has accelerated growth of its network.
When COVID-19 first struck the nation, ConvenientMD faced similar challenges as other health care organizations. The number of patients fell by 80% as they were limited to emergency care only. “We couldn’t shut our clinics. We were the first line of defense. We were worried about emergency rooms being overrun,” Dickens says.
But quickly, it became apparent that the Portsmouth-based company would take a leadership role in the fight against the pandemic. Dickens says it was in a good position given that 80% of NH residents live within 20 minutes of a ConvenientMD clinic. “Because of that geographic coverage, we could solve problems in terms of testing and vaccination,” he says.
ConvenientMD received two state contracts, one to provide nurses and physician assistants to boost the state’s contact tracing program. A second contract was for the firm to provide telemedicine services, according to NHPR. In addition, the company conducted testing on workers at the state’s long-term care facilities and initially partnered with Anthem to operate the first drive-thru testing site in NH at Pease International Tradeport. Those efforts led Gov. Chris Sununu and Commissioner Laurie Shibinette of Health and Human Services to single out ConvenientMD at a press conference.
“ConvenientMD has been a great testing partner for us through the very early days of this crisis. We cannot thank them enough,” Sununu said.
ConvenientMD’s team also created a COVID-19 Assessment and Evaluation Tool that aligned with state and CDC guidelines so that employers and schools could track COVID-19 exposure. Since then, the firm has opened its own PCR lab to test for COVID and to offer Monoclonal Antibody treatment in NH that reduces symptoms for those who test positive.
Before the pandemic, ConvenientMD had been expanding its footprint and offering onsite pharmacies. As the exclusive urgent care partner for the NH School Nurses Association, they provide continuing education for school nurses as well as free flu shots, free prescriptions and even free care for students in need.
Dickens says ConvenientMD, which is scheduled to open eight new clinics this year, is on track to add 10 new clinics annually over the next five years, adding at least 300 new jobs across 100 communities in NH, Maine and Massachusetts. Dickens says they also expanded into behavioral health and primary care. And he suspects COVID-related services will continue with a need for vaccinations during flu season and surveillance services for schools and businesses.