AZTEC — The third time's the charm for Aztec Urgent Care, a health care facility in south Aztec.
Opened in 2010, the business on South Rio Grande Avenue will be honored by Four Corners Economic Development at its annual Economic Development, Growth and Excellence awards this week. Aztec Urgent Care was nominated for the EDGE award twice before in 2012 and 2011.
Suzanne Cartier Bowker is the company's co-owner, along with her brother, Jack Cartier, and nurse Paula Dunne. Cartier Bowker also has operated an urgent care facility in Durango, Colo., since 2008.
"We are extremely honored and humbled as we were when nominated in the past," said Cartier Bowker. "In our view, it's a very prestigious honor to be nominated for the award. When we opened in July 2010, we immediately felt the community wrap its arms around us, and, we, in turn, wrapped our collective arms around the community."
When the medical business sought to expand, the owners reviewed recent demographic studies, but opening in San Juan County was always a goal.
"We looked at the population base and the medical needs of the Four Corners area and found that the Aztec-Bloomfield-Farmington market was under-served," Cartier Bowker said. "We have since day one looked at what needs can we serve. Each community's needs are different. We immediately noted the need for a different level of service in Aztec and the surrounding area."
Part of that special care is in expediting billing for patients, she said. Aztec Urgent Care accepts Medicaid and automatically bills Medicare for patients.
"Automatically billing for our patients helps alleviate costs up front," Cartier Bowker said.
Urgent care facilities fill a niche for people with non-threatening illnesses, she said.
The businesses are thriving despite the economic downturn as landing an appointment with a primary care doctor has become increasingly difficult.
"Many primaries have turned to specialized fields, causing delays between the need for care and the chance to see someone to get it," Cartier Bowker said. "We're filling a void left by emergency rooms that are crowded and expensive. We are often three to five times cheaper than an (emergency room) visit."
Urgent cares often help patients who need stitches, casts for broken arms or relief from urinary tract infections or flu and sinus infections.
Aztec Urgent Care will be honored for more than its business. The company's owners have offered medical personnel for area events like the Aztec Highland Games and Celtic Music Festival, the Alien Run mountain bike competition and various children's events and school athletic programs.
"When we're asked, we step up," Cartier Bowker said. "It's just part of being part of a community. We take giving back very seriously."
James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and email@example.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.