ZION CROSSROADS — When Bob and Maria Geithner heard the University of Virginia was opening doctor’s offices near their home in Troy, they made the three-mile trip to see what it was all about.
They hope the office, which opens Monday, will allow them to avoid the hassle of going into Charlottesville to see a doctor or get X-rays.
“It’ll be nice to come here instead of going downtown,” Bob Geithner said.
That’s why the UVa Health System has decided to open a satellite facility at Zion Crossroads, just off Interstate 64 in Louisa County. It’s supposed to help the university reach patients in outlying areas, who traditionally have to make long drives to get services, said Dr. Raymond Costabile, senior associate dean for clinical strategy at the School of Medicine.
The new facility includes offices for primary care physicians and various specialists — neurologists, cardiologists, urologists and many others. Health System spokesman Eric Swensen said the physicians will have different schedules — some will be there five days a week, while others will split time between Zion Crossroads and Charlottesville.
Patients also will have access to an array of services, including MRI, CT scanning, X-rays and a pharmacy.
Dr. Wes Campbell, chief of clinical operations for the UVa Physicians Group, said the center will offer ambulatory, or outpatient, services. Patients still will go to Charlottesville for more complex procedures. But residents who want a checkup, want to see a doctor or need testing or imaging won’t have to go far.
The Medical Park at Zion Crossroads has been planned since 2010. Studies by the university and the state showed there was a need for services in the area, Campbell said.
The new center is part of a long-term plan to extend the Health System’s reach to patients in rural areas of Central Virginia. The Health System already has a presence in Culpeper and smaller offices in North Garden and Farmville, but officials say they want to do more.
“The whole goal is to get our physicians into the community because, as you know, it’s hard to get into Charlottesville,” Costabile said. “It’s much easier to bring physicians out to where the patients are.”
Zion Crossroads straddles Fluvanna and Louisa counties, where the population has grown by about 30 percent since 2000, according to census data.
That was one of the reasons the university chose the site, Costabile said. UVa already had a small presence with a couple of general practitioners there, and they reported a need for more services.
The university is planning its next location. Campbell said the Health System will make its next choice based on population trends and need for service.
“The planning process is ongoing,” Campbell said. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility that two years from now you’ll see [another] Zion Crossroads-like center in our service area.”
Retired clinical engineer Cecil Greene, of Gordonsville, who took a tour of the center with his wife, Nicole, said he was impressed with the imaging equipment.
“I hope I don’t have to use it, but it’s nice it’s here,” Greene said.